As'Fürstlich-Köthenischer Kapellmeister', Johann Sebastian Bach still had to provide music for special occasions at the Köthen court even after becoming cantor at St Thomas Leipzig in April 1723. He composed the cantata Steigt freudig in die Luft (BWV 36a) for the celebration of Princess Charlotte Friederike Amalie of Nassau Siegen's birthday. He had already written the serenata Der Himmel dacht' auf Anhalts Ruhm und Glück (BWV 66a) in 1718, during his time at Köthen, for the occasion of Prince Leopold's birthday.
The present reconstructions of the two Köthen celebration cantatas, performed by the Mitteldeutsche Hofmusik on period instruments, demonstrate the works' cultural historic value and ambition as artworks despite being occasional pieces. The wishes brought forward in the birthday cantatas have, in fact, lost nothing of their relevance after almost 300 years: happiness, health, and a long life.