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Cantata BWV 131
Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir
English Translation in Interlinear format
Cantata BWV 131 - Out of the depths I cry, Lord, to you

Event: Cantata (probably) for Penitential Service after a fire?
Text: Psalm 130; Bartholomäus Ringwaldt (Mvts. 2, 4)
Chorale Text: Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut

Biblical quotations in green font, chorales in purple

1

Chorus [S, A, T, B]

Oboe, Fagotto, Violino, Viola I/II, Continuo

Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir.
Out of the depths I cry, Lord, to you.
Herr, höre meine Stimme,
Lord, hear my voice,
laß deine Ohren merken auf
let your ears notice
die Stimme meines Flehens!
the voice of my pleading.

2

Arioso [Bass] and Chorale [Soprano]

Oboe, Continuo

Bass:
So du willst, Herr, Sünde zurechnen, Herr, wer wird bestehen ?
If you want to count up sin , Lord, who will withstand you?

Soprano:
Erbarm dich mein in solcher Last,
Have mercy on me with such a burden,
Nimm sie aus meinem Herzen,
Take it away from my heart,
Dieweil du sie gebüßet hast
since you have paid the price for it
Am Holz mit Todesschmerzen,
on the wood [of the cross] with the pains of death

Bass:
Denn bei dir ist die Vergebung, daß man dich fürchte.
For with you is forgiveness , so that we may fear you.

Soprano:
Auf daß ich nicht mit großem Weh
So that I may not with great sorrow
In meinen Sünden untergeh,
drown in my sins
Noch ewiglich verzage.
nor despair for ever.

3

Chorus [S, A, T, B]

Oboe, Fagotto, Violino, Viola I/II, Continuo

Ich harre des Herrn, meine Seele harret, und ich hoffe auf sein Wort.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and I hope in his word.

4

Aria [Tenor] and Chorus [Alto]

Continuo

Tenor:
Meine Seele wartet auf den Herrn
My soul waits for the Lord
von einer Morgenwache bis zu der andern.
from one morning watch until the next

Alto:
Und weil ich denn in meinem Sinn,
Especially since I in my mind,
Wie ich zuvor geklaget,
as I have for a long time lamented,
Auch ein betrübter Sünder bin,
am also a troubled sinner,
Den sein Gewissen naget,
who is gnawed by his conscience,
Und wollte gern im Blute dein
and would willingly in your blood
Von Sünden abgewaschen sein
be washed clean from my sins
Wie David und Manasse.
like David and Manasseh.

5

Chorus [S, A, T, B]

Oboe, Fagotto, Violino, Viola I/II, Continuo

Israel hoffe auf den Herrn;
Israel , hope in the Lord
denn bei dem Herrn ist die Gnade
for with the Lord is grace
und viel Erlösung bei ihm.
and much redemption with him
Und er wird Israel erlösen aus allen seinen Sünden.
and he shall redeem Israel from all his sins.

Note on the text

On the original score Bach added a note stating that this work was commissioned by Georg Christian Eilmar, pastor of the Marienkirche, Mülhausen, and it must therefore date from 1707-8. The occasion of the work is not stated but the text suggests a penitential service. This might be connected with a serious fire which occurred shortly before Bach took up his position in the town. A great part of the inner city was destroyed and many families left homeless.

Like many mid-German sacred concertos from the 17th century, the cantata draws on two textual sources simultaneously. One is the whole of Psalm 130. This is one of the seven penitential psalms, but is still more a psalm of hope. It takes a prominent place in Christian liturgy for the dead, not as a lament but as an expression of trust in God the Redeemer. Every movement of the cantata takes as its text one or two verses of this psalm, so that at the end of one movement the text of the next is already anticipated.

The second textual source used by Bach is the chorale Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut by Bartholomäus Ringwaldt (1588). In the bass aria the second strophe of the chorale is juxtaposed with the psalm; in the tenor aria the fifth strophe is used in a similar way. Thus not only the psalm but also the chorale serves to advance the meaning of the cantata.

The complete text of the chorale with a literal English translation may be found at: Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut

(information based on Dürr, Die Kantaten and the Oxford Composer Companion)

This Translation in Parallel Format

English Translation by Francis Browne (March 2002, revised December 2004)
Contributed by Francis Browne (March 2002, December 2004)

Cantata BWV 131: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2
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Chorale Text:
Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut

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Last update: ýMay 15, 2012 ý14:08:45