If you’ve been griping about taxes recently, you may sympathize with the characters in J.S. Bach’s secular Peasant Cantata, BWV 212, first performed in 1742. Bach referred to this popular, comic work as “Cantate burlesque.” Listen to the entire work here.
In this excerpt, Ach, Herr Schösser, geht gar nicht zu schlimm, the farmer decries the unfair burden of land taxes. Here is a translation, beginning with the preceding recitative:
The master is good: but the tax collector
comes straight out of hell.
Quick as a lightning flash he can slap a new tax on land-us
harm the very moment we’ve just got out of hot water.
Ah. Mr tax- collector, Do not Be Too Hard
with us poor peasants.
Leave us our skin.
Eat up the cabbage
Like the caterpiilars to the bare stalk.
That Should Be enough!
Here is Christopher Hogwood and the The Academy of Ancient Music with David Thomas (bass) and Emma Kirkby (soprano):