Background Information
Performer Bios

Poet/Composer Bios

Additional Information

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

Cantata BWV 90
Es reißet euch ein schrecklich Ende
English Translation in Interlinear Format
Cantata BWV 90 - A dreadful end carries you away

Event: Solo Cantata for the 25th Sunday after Trinity
Readings: Epistle: 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18; Gospel: Matthew 24: 15-28
Text: Martin Moller (Mvt. 5); Anon (Mvts. 1-4)
Chorale Text: Nimm von uns, Herr, du treuer Gott

Biblical quotations in green font, chorales in purple


Aria [Tenor]

Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo

Es reifet euch ein schrecklich Ende,
A dreadful end carries you away,
Ihr sündlichen Verächter, hin.
you sinful scoffers.
Der Sünden Maß ist voll gemessen,
The measure of your sins has been measured out in full,
Doch euer ganz verstockter Sinn
but your minds are completely obstinate
Hat seines Richters ganz vergessen.
and have quite forgotten your judge.


Recitative [Alto]


Des Höchsten Güte wird von Tag zu Tage neu, Lamentations 3:22f
The goodness of the Highest becomes new from day to day,
Der Undank aber sündigt stets auf Gnade. Romans 6:1
but ingratitude sins continually against mercy.
O, ein verzweifelt böser Schade,
Oh, a desperately wicked harmful act
So dich in dein Verderben führt.
leads you in this way to your ruin.
Ach! wird dein Herze nicht gerührt? Romans 2:4
Ah, is your heart not touched?
Dass Gottes Güte dich
So that God's goodness
Zur wahren Buße leitet?
may lead you to true repentance?
Sein treues Herze lässet sich
He lets his faithful heart be seen
Zu ungezählter Wohltat schauen:
in innumerable good deeds:
Bald läßt er Tempel auferbauen, Zechariah 6: 12-15
Soon he will allow temples to be built,
Bald wird die Aue zubereitet, Psalm 23:2
soon the meadows will be prepared
Auf die des Wortes Manna fällt,
on which the manna of the word may fall
So dich erhält.
to support you.
Jedoch, o! Bosheit dieses Lebens,
And yet , oh! evil of this life,
Die Wohltat ist an dir vergebens.
his kindness is in vain for you.


Aria [Bass]

Tromba, Violino I/II, Viola, Continuo

So löschet im Eifer der rächende Richter Nahum 1:2, Revelation 2:5
Therefore in his zeal the revenging judge quenches
Den Leuchter des Wortes zur Strafe doch aus.
the lamp of his word as a punishment.
Ihr müsset, o Sünder, durch euer Verschulden
You must, o sinners, through your own guilt
Den Greuel an heiliger Stätte erdulden,
endure abomination in the holy places,
Ihr machet aus Tempeln ein mörderisch Haus. Matthew 21:13[Jeremiah 7:11]
you make the temples a house of murder.


Recitative [Tenor]


Doch Gottes Auge sieht auf uns als Auserwählte: Matthew 24 :22
But God's eye looks upon us as the people he has chosen:
Und wenn kein Mensch der Feinde Menge zählte,
and when no man can count the crowd of enemies,
So schützt uns doch der Held in Israel,
the hero still protects us in Israel,
Es hemmt sein Arm der Feinde Lauf
his arm checks the enemy's course
Und hilft uns auf;
and helps us up;
Des Wortes Kraft wird in Gefahr
in danger the strength of his word
Um so viel mehr erkannt und offenbar.
is manifest and recognised all the more.


Chorale [S, A, T, B]

Leit uns mit deiner rechten Hand
Lead us with your right hand
Und segne unser Stadt und Land;
and bless our city and country;
Gib uns allzeit dein heilges Wort,
give us at all times your holy word,
Behüt für's Teufels List und Mord;
protect us from the devil's deceit and murder;
Verleih ein selges Stündelein,
grant us a blessed final hour,
Auf daß wir ewig bei dir sein!
so that we may be with you for ever.

Notes on the text

BWV 90 was performed in Leipzig on 14 November 1723, the penultimate Sunday of the church year . The gospel of the day deals with the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world. Bach's anonymous librettist uses this as the starting point for a stern sermon against those who neglect or despise God's word.

The text contains many biblical allusions . In the discussion on the BCW website Thomas Braatz has conveniently provided the relevant passages in English and German.I gratefully copy them here:

Mvt. 2:
"Des Höchsten Güte wird von Tag zu Tage neu" from Lamentations 3:22-23. Luther 1545 unrevised: "Die Gute des HErrn ist, daß wir nicht gar aus sind; seine Barmherzigkeit hat noch kein Ende, sondern sie ist alle Morgen neu, und deine Treue ist groß." NLT: "The unfailing love of the LORD never ends! By his mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day."

"Der Undank aber sündigt stets auf Gnade."
Romans 6:1 Luther 1545 unrevised: "Was wollen wir hiezu sagen? Sollen wir denn in der Sünde beharren, auf daß die Gnade desto mächtiger werde?" NLT: "Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more kindness and forgiveness?"

"Ach! wird dein Herze nicht gerührt?"
Daß Gottes Güte dich Zur wahren Buße leitet?
Romans 2:4 Luther unrevised: "Oder verachtest du den Reichtum seiner Güte, Geduld und Langmütigkeit? Weißt du nicht, daß dich Gottes Güte zur Buße leitet?" NLT: "Don't you realize how kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Or don't you care? Can't you see how kind he has been in giving you time to turn from your sin?"

Mvt. 3:
"So löschet im Eifer der rächende Richter
Den Leuchter des Wortes zu Strafe doch aus.
Revelation 2:5 Luther 1545 unrevised: "Gedenke, wovon du gefallen bist, und tu Buße und tu die ersten Werke! Wo aber nicht, werde ich dir kommen bald und deinen Leuchter wegstoßen von seiner Stätte, wo du nicht Buße tust." NLT: "Look how far you have fallen from your first love! Turn back to me again and work as you did at first. If you don't, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches."

"Ihr machet aus Tempeln ein mörderisch Haus."
Matthew 21:13 Luther 1545 unrevised: "Und sprach zu ihnen: Es stehet geschrieben: Mein Haus soll ein Bethaus heißen. Ihr aber habt eine Mördergrube daraus gemacht." NLT: "He said, 'The Scriptures declare, "My Temple will be called a place of prayer," but you have turned it into a den of thieves!'"

Mvt. 4:
"Doch Gottes Auge sieht auf uns als Auserwählte"
Matthew 24:22 Luther 1545 unrevised: "Und wo diese Tage nicht würden verkürzt, so würde kein Mensch selig; aber um der Auserwählten willen werden die Tage verkürzt." NLT: "In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, the entire human race will be destroyed. But it will be shortened for the sake of God's chosen ones."

The text of the opening tenor aria, most dramatically set by Bach, at once establishes the tone of vigorous condemnation and is made vivid by the use of the present tense and the direct address to those who have despised God. The words Verächter and verstockter stress the arrogance of those who sin . It is not clear whether Der Sünden Maß ist voll gemessen, means that the sinners have now reached the point where God will no longer overlook their sins or that they are now receiving punishment measured out appropriately to their sins. On either intepretation a crisis point has been reached when they must face the consequences .

The misreading 'reifet' is sometimes found instead of the correct reading reißet.

The following recitative uses a number of biblical passages to complain that God's goodness meets with ingratitude instead of repentance, and his continual kindness is answered by evil conduct. The bass aria in excited dactylic verse uses imagery from Revelation and Jeremiah to stress the disasterous consequences of such behaviour.

Only with the second recitative is a more positive, hopeful view reached. In the midst of enemies and danger G's help is something on which we can rely.This leads to the concluding chorale , the final strophe of Martin Moller’s 1584 hymn Nimm von uns, Herr, du treuer Gott.

Moller's hymn is based on the Latin poem Aufer immensam, Deus, aufer iram which some may know because of its setting by Heinrich Schütz).

As the Oxford Companion notes the horrors of the last judgement were a favoured theme in Baroque art . What to many today may seem a grim unpromising text evoked in Bach's imagination a colourful response of tremendous enery and stern vehemence.


This Translation in Parallel Format

English Translation by Francis Browne (October 2002, revised & notes: September 2012)
Contributed by Francis Browne (October 2002, September 2012)

Cantata BWV 90: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2
German Text | Translations: Catalan-1 | Dutch | English-1 | English-3I | English-3P | English-6 | English-10 | French-4 | French-6 | Hebrew-1 | Indonesian | Italian-2 | Russian-1 | Spanish-5 | Spanish-7
Chorale Text:
Nimm von uns, Herr, du treuer Gott

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


Back to the Top

Last update: Friday, June 02, 2017 06:13