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Cantata BWV 69a
Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele
English Translation in Interlinear Format
Cantata 69a - Praise the Lord

Event: Cantata for the 12th Sunday after Trinity
Readings: Epistle: 2 Corinthians 3: 4-11; Gospel: Mark 7: 31-37
Text: Psalm 103: 2 (Mvt. 1); Samuel Rodigast (Mvt. 6); Anon (Mvts. 2-5) [based on text from Johann Oswald (?) Knauer cantata cycle]
Chorale Text: Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan

Biblical quotations in green font, chorales in purple


Chorus [S, A, T, B]

Tromba I-III, Timpani, Oboe I-III, Fagotto, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo

Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele,
Praise the Lord, my soul,
und vergiß nicht,
and do not forget
was er dir Gutes getan hat! Psalm 103.2
what good he has done for you!


Recitative [Soprano]

Fagotto, Continuo

Ach, daß ich tausend Zungen hätte!
Ah, if only I had a thousand tongues!
Ach wäre doch mein Mund
Ah, if only my mouth
Von eitlen Worten leer!
were empty of vain words!
Ach, daß ich gar nichts redte,
Ah, if only I might say nothing
Als was zu Gottes Lob gerichtet wär!
except what would be directed to God's praise!
So machte ich des Höchsten Güte kund;
In this way I should make known the kindness of the Highest;
Denn er hat lebenslang so viel an mir getan,
for throughout my life he has done so much for me
Daß ich in Ewigkeit ihm nicht verdanken kann.
that in eternity I could not thank him fully.


Aria [Tenor]

Flauto, Oboe da caccia, Fagotto, Continuo

Meine Seele,
My soul,
Auf, erzähle,
arise, tell
Was dir Gott erwiesen hat!
what God has shown to you!
Rühmet seine Wundertat,
Praise his marvellous work
Laßt ein gottgefällig Singen
Let a song that is pleasing to God
Durch die frohen Lippen dringen!
break forth from your joyful lips!


Recitative [Alto]

Fagotto, Continuo

Gedenk ich nur zurück,
When I only think back to
Was du, mein Gott, von zarter Jugend an
what you, my God, from my tender youth
Bis diesen Augenblick
until this moment
An mir getan,
have done for me,
So kann ich deine Wunder, Herr,
then I can count your wonderful deeds, Lord,
So wenig als die Sterne zählen.
as little as I could count the stars.
Vor deine Huld, die du an meiner Seelen
For your favour, which to my soul you
Noch alle Stunden tust,
show at all times,
Indem du nie von deiner Liebe ruhst,
while you never rest from showing your love for me,
Vermag ich nicht vollkommnen Dank zu weihn.
I could never thank you fully.
Mein Mund ist schwach, die Zunge stumm
My mouth is weak, my tongue speechless
Zu deinem Preis und Ruhm.
for your praise and glory.
Ach! sei mir nah
Ah, be near me
Und sprich dein kräftig Hephata, Mark 7:34
and speak your mighty Ephata,
So wird mein Mund voll Dankens sein.
then my mouth will be full of thanks.


Aria [Bass]

Oboe d'amore, Violino I/II, Viola, Fagotto, Continuo

Mein Erlöser und Erhalter,
My redeeemer and support,
Nimm mich stets in Hut und Wacht!
keep me always in your care and protection!
Steh mir bei in Kreuz und Leiden,
Stand by me in cross and suffering,
Alsdenn singt mein Mund mit Freuden:
then my mouth sings with joy:
Gott hat alles wohlgemacht!
God has made everything well!


Chorale [S, A, T, B]

Tromba I e Oboe I/II e Violino I col Soprano, Violino II coll'Alto, Viola col Tenore, Fagotto, Continuo

Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan,
What God does is well done,
Darbei will ich verbleiben.
with that thought I want to remain in agreement.
Es mag mich auf die rauhe Bahn
I may be driven on the rough road
Not, Tod und Elend treiben:
by need, death and misery:
So wird Gott mich
then will God
Ganz väterlich
just like a father
In seinen Armen halten.
hold me in his arms.
Drum laß ich ihn nur walten.
Therefore I yield power to him only.

Notes on the Text

BWV 69a was written in Bach's first year at Leipzig for 12th Sunday after Trinity and first performed on 15 August 1723. It was later revived on a number of occasions with various alterations. In 1748 it was used as a basis for the council election cantata BWV 69 which has the same name.

The text of the present cantata is taken from a yearly cycle of cantata texts published in Gotha with the title :Gott-geheiligtes Singen und Spielen des Friedensteinschen Zions.Nach allen un jeden Sonn- und Fest –Tags –Evangelien, vor und nach der Predigt angegestellet/Vom Advent 1720 .bis dahin 1721. The author was probably Johann Oswald Knauer and the cycle seems to have been written for Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel, Kapellmeister in Gotha and brother in law of Knauer. The texts were popular and fairly widely used. Johann Friedrich Fasch, who was one of Bach's rivals for the post at Leipzig and from 1722 was the Kapellmeister at Zerbst, set the complete cycle of texts and Stölzel probably did the same. Bach also used this source in BWV 64 and BWV 77.

Knauer’s text is based on the gospel for the 12th Sunday after Trinity : Mark 7: 31 - , Jesus’ healing of a deaf mute. This particular miracle is seen as symbolic of God’s constant activity and care on man’s behalf and we are therefore enjoined to praise God. The original text had ten movements and was intended to be performed in two parts, before and after the sermon. Bach uses only six movements to make the text more concise and in keeping with the other cantatas he was producing for this period of the church’s year.

The text of the opening movement comes from Psalm 103 and introduces the theme of praise as a response to the goodness of God. Knauer has the aria next but Bach follows with a shortened adaption of the recitative, where the emphasis placed on praising God with a thousand tongues can be understood as an allusion to the healing of the deaf mute. To illustrate how Knauer’s text is adapted, here is the original text of the tenor aria:
Meine Seele,
auf, erzahle
deines Gottes Gütigkeit.
Laß ein gottgefällig Singen
Durch die frohen Lippen dringen.
Mache dich zum Dank bereit.

The second recitative -the fourth movement- begins as in Knauer but then is changed radically to make a closer connection to the text of the gospel by the quotation of the word Ephphatha used by Christ. The following bass aria has little in common with Knauer but the concluding choral strophe is identical, the sixth verse of the well-known hymn by Samuel Rodigast (1675): Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan.


This Translation in Parallel Format

English Translation by Francis Browne (July 2002; revised & notes November 2011)
Contributed by Francis Browne (July 2002, November 2011)

Cantatas BWV 69 & BWV 69a: Details & Complete Recordings of BWV 69 | Details & Complete Recordings of BWV 69a | Recordings of Individual Movemnts from BWV 69 | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
BWV 69a:
German Text | Translations: Dutch-3 | English-1 | English-3I | English-3P | English-6 | French-1 | French-6 | Hebrew | Italian-2 | Russian-1 | Spanish-3
Chorale Text:
Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan

English Translations in Interlinear/Parallel Format (English-3): Sorted by BWV Number | Sorted by Title | Sorted by Event | Note on English Translations

Texts & Translations: Main Page | Cantatas BWV 1-50 | Cantatas BWV 51-100 | Cantatas BWV 101-150 | Cantatas BWV 151-200 | Cantatas BWV 201-224 | Other Vocal BWV 225-249 | Chorales BWV 250-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-524 | Other Vocal 1081-1089 | BWV Anh | Chorale Texts | Emblemata | Sources | Poets & Composers
Discussions: Texts | Translations: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4


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Last update: Friday, June 02, 2017 04:58