After the death of August “the Strong” on 1 February 1733, his son, Elector Friedrich August II. of Saxony (1696–1763), attempted to follow in the paternal footsteps and be crowned King of Poland as well. In this he was supported by the Habsburgs and their allies, whereas the King of France, Louis XV, favored his father-in-law, Stanisław Leszczyński (1677–1766). This conflict triggered the War of the Polish Succession (1733–1738). Due to the critical situation the subjects were apparently given permission to organize public celebrations only in early February of 1734. In this month several festivities of this kind took place in Leipzig – around the 19th, for example, Johann Sebastian Bach gave a concert with his Collegium Musicum in Zimmermann’s Coffehouse. It is not known who commissioned Bach to perform a suitable congratulatory piece. The comparatively small number of printed texts (100 copies) indicates only a moderate audience, which in turn allows us to assume that this Dramma per Musica was scored mostly with soloists. Regarding the music, Bach resorted to the Aeolus Cantata (BWV 205.1 / BWV 205), which he had composed in 1725 for August Friedrich Müller (1684–1761), a professor at Leipzig University. The scholar happened to have the same first name as the new king, which facilitated the parodying process. In view of the obvious time constraints we may assume that in the recitatives only few phrases were altered: Bach had already begun to insert the new text in the score of the parody model, breaking off in the middle of the introductory chorus, however. Like that of the parody model, the libretto may have been by Picander (Christian Friedrich Henrici, 1700–1764). The four allegorical Virtues appearing in this Dramma per Musica (“Pallas” representing Wisdom, “Grace”, “Justice”, and “Valor”), who also were frequently depicted in contemporary paintings, allude to Cicero’s (106 B.C. – 43 B.C.) moral-philosophical treatise De officiis (44 B.C.), which among other topics addresses the duties of a statesman. In the recitatives, which primarily narrate the plot, the events around the coronation are treated step by step. For the present attempt at a reconstruction of the Coronation Cantata the editor consulted the surviving autograph score of the parody model (BWV 205) and the libretto published by Breitkopf in 1734. The newly underlaid texts are given in italics; the words that Bach inserted himself in the opening chorus, on the other hand, are rendered here in roman font. The recitatives of this first performing edition of the Coronation Cantata were arranged by the editor closely following the text. The reader may compare them with the original versions found in the parody model (BWV 205.1).
From the preface by Alexander Grychtolik