Cantata No.203

Johann Sebastian Bach

Cantata No.203

BWV203 • “Amore traditore”

About this work

When or why Bach composed his Cantata No. 203 "Amore traditore" (Cupid, traitor) (BWV 203) is unknown. Who wrote the text and when the work was to have been performed is likewise unknown. The autograph is missing and the oldest original copy of the score no longer exists. All that is known for certain is that the oldest copy bore the words Cantata a Voce solo e Cembelo obbligato di Giov. Seb. Bach. The use of Italian is wholly appropriate. The work is not only in the style of an Italian solo cantata, but the language Bach sets is Italian. So is the spirit of the work: scored for dramatic bass soloists and fully written out in harpsichord obbligato, "Amore traditore" is a reflection on love gone bad in three movements. The opening movement is a sprightly and spiteful minor-keyed da capo aria in 6/8. The central movement is a histrionic secco recitative. The closing movement is a sprightly piece of advice to the lovelorn: "He who is thwarted in love is foolish not to abandon it."