Jan Sebastian Bach's cantatas in Polish is a website for listeners who wish to better comprehend the content of the works of Johann Sebastian Bach.

The inspiration behind the website came from the radio programmes hosted by prof. Mirosław Perz, broadcast by Polish Radio in the early 90s, which have been recorded meticulously by me and my friends. It was the time when the first notes, jottings, and imperfected transcritpions were born, later to be transformed into the initial form of the website. It was the time when the adventure started...

Thereafter, the website was enriched by translations done by Armin and Andrzej Teske, which were published by the Polihymnia publishing house as an addition to the book "Cantatas of Jan Sebastian Bach" by Alfred Durr (2004). Having all the translations I needed, I added the recordings and, subsequently, as with all the other IT systems, I developed and added content to the website to make it more interesting and useful.

For the time being, the core of the system is a cataloque of Bach oratories complemented by various texts, writings, translations, recordings and listings as well as tools to allow users to bring up notes, indexations, tagging and make all the work with the cantatas possible.

One can find here:

  • the catalogue of cantatas and other oratorium by J.S. Bach
  • original, German text books
  • polish translations:
    • the translations by Armin Teske and prof. Mirosław Perz from both programmes' seasons
    • other authors translations
  • summeries, tables and other data, which are easy to obtain through computer processing such as the following:
    • cantatas in the liturgical year order (*1)
    • liturgical calendar for the past and the future (*1)
    • cantatas summary regarding the instruments (*1)
    • the summeries based on tags introduced by me and other authorized system users
  • collection of recordings, especially:
    • radio programmes broadcast in series of "200 cantatas of Jan Sebastian"
    • the famous performance of all Bach's cantatas (Masaaki Suzuki, historical recordings, Tom Koopman, sir John Eliot Gardiner, Kar Richter, Helmuth Rilling)
    • single recordings (so called "real gems" among them - the collection still in progress)
    • links to some interesting performances on Youtube or other multimedia websites
  • original text books and Polish translations of a few other oratories by some other composers

What is the system useful for:

  • reading in original versions and all translated versions available
  • printing or downloading the content in a format which makes transforming the data possible (*2)
  • listening (for those who obtained the relevant authorisation)
  • working with cantatas through introducing own tags, comments, creating own lists
  • making the work done available for other system users 

What I would like to do in the future is to enrich this system with more multimedia to allow the music to be played with Polish subtitles simultanously.

What is the reason for creating the system? To make cantatas more accessible, to make them better understood, to make the experience easier and - above all - to enjoy the wholeness of the words and the accompanying music. I believe the website might be usefull for professional musicians preparing for a concert, enabling them to comprehend the ideas the music was designed for. It may also be used by amateurs to widen their knowledge and understanding. And that's all for the grace and glory of God and Jesus, as it's said in the "Epistle to the Colossians" all is " by Him, and for Him". Amen.

Wojciech Apel, the editor

The contributors:

  • Wojtek – editing, collecting the content
  • Kuba – programming, administration
  • Achim – graphic design
  • Marysia – editing
  • Agnieszka - English translation
  • Filip - [ korekta wybranych transkrypcji audycji radiowych ]


*1 – work in progress
*2 – not available for everyone