Friday, June 5, 2020

Life and Death and Life again. . .

At age 22 Johann Sebastian Bach put together this cantata for a funeral.  Whose funeral we do not know.  But it was a more than a mere compilation of texts matched to wonderful music.  This was a theological tome setting the life and death of God's people within the context of Christ's life, death, and resurrection.  The faithful join at last in Simeon's song of faith, not resigned to God's will but rejoicing in it.   "This extraordinary music," writes John Eliot Gardiner, "composed at such a young age, is never saccharine, self-indulgent or morbid; on the contrary, though deeply serious, it is consoling and full of optimism." But this is not optimism.  This is filled with hope, hope planted in Christ's redemption and confident that what God ordains is always good.

Cantata BWV 106
Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit (Actus Tragicus)
English Translation in Interlinear Format
Cantata BWV 106 - God's time is the very best time
Text: Acts 17: 28 (Mvt. 2a); Psalm 90: 12 (Mvt. 2b); Isaiah 38: 1 (Mvt. 2c); Luke 23: 43 & Martin Luther (Mvt. 3b); Adam Reusner (Mvt. 4); Johann Leon (Mvt. 6)
Chorale Texts: Ich hab mein Sach Gott heimgestellt | In dich hab' ich gehoffet, Herr | Mit Fried und Freud
Biblical quotations are in green font, chorale quotations in purple font

Flauto I/II, Viola da gamba I/II, Continuo

Chorus [S, A, T, B]

Flauto I/II, Viola da gamba I/II, Continuo

Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit.
God's time is the very best time.
In ihm leben, weben und sind wir, solange er will.
(Acts 17:28)
In him we live , move and are, so long as he wills.
In ihm sterben wir zur rechten Zeit, wenn er will.
In him we die at the right time, when he wills.

Arioso [Tenor]

Flauto I/II, Viola da gamba I/II, Continuo

Ach, Herr, lehre uns bedenken, (Psalm 90:12)
Ah Lord, teach us to think
daß wir sterben müssen,
that we must die
auf daß wir klug werden.
so that we become wise.

Aria [Bass]

Flauto I/II, Viola da gamba I/II, Continuo

Bestelle dein Haus; (Isaiah 38:1)
Put your house in order
denn du wirst sterben
for you will die
und nicht lebendig bleiben.
and not remain living.


Flauto I/II, Viola da gamba I/II, Continuo

Es ist der alte Bund:
It is the old covenant:
Mensch, du mußt sterben!
Man, you must die!
Ja, komm, Herr Jesu, komm!
Yes, come, lord Jesus. come !

(Ecclesiasticus 14:17)
(Revelations 22:20)

Aria [Alto]

Viola da gamba I/II, Continuo

In deine Hände befehl ich meinen Geist;
Into your hands I commit my spirit;
du hast mich erlöset, Herr, du getreuer Gott.
(Psalm 31:6)
you have redeemed me, Lord, you faithful God.

3b. Arioso [Bass] and Chorale [Alto]

Viola da gamba I/II, Continuo

Heute wirst du mit mir im Paradies sein.
Today you will be with me in paradise.

(Luke 23:43)
Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin
With peace and joy I travel there
In Gottes Willen,
in God's will,
Getrost ist mir mein Herz und Sinn,
my heart and mind are confident,
Sanft und stille.
peaceful and calm.
Wie Gott mir verheißen hat:
As God has promised me:
Der Tod ist mein Schlaf geworden.
death has become my sleep

Chorus [S, A, T, B]

Flauto I/II, Viola da gamba I/II, Continuo

Glorie, Lob, Ehr und Herrlichkeit
Glory, praise, honour and majesty
Sei dir, Gott Vater und Sohn bereit,
be given to you God father and son,
Dem heilgen Geist mit Namen!
to the holy spirit by name!
Die göttlich Kraft
God's strength
Mach uns sieghaft
make us victorious
Durch Jesum Christum, Amen.
through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Ton Koopman gives commentary.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, Confessional Lutheran text; magnificent, peaceful,flowing music.
Written when Bach was 22? Amazing.