Trauernicht-WIlkening Family Tree
Picander’s poetry is focused on the name of Jesus, similarly to Bach’s later cantata for the same occasion, Part IV of his Christmas Oratorio. The biblical quotation from the Old Testament already mentions the name of God. The first recitative adds the thought that the name of Jesus is a gift for the New Year. The second aria contemplates that the name of Jesus, being the first word in the new year, should also be the last in the hour of death. Bach composed the cantata years after the complete cantata cycles from the beginning of his tenure as Thomaskantor in Leipzig in 1723.
The text by Picander appeared in a 1728 collection of texts for all occasions of the liturgical year. The feast day also celebrated the circumcision and naming of Jesus. Picander focused on the naming, beginning with a psalm verse mentioning God’s name. He used for the conclusion the second stanza from Johannes Hermann’s hymn “Jesu, nun sei gepreiset “.