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Text for Cantata 4
Christ lag in Todesbanden

Original German Text

English Translation

1. SINFONIA

2. Versus 1: CHOR

Christ lag in Todes Banden
für unsre Sünd gegeben,
er ist wieder erstanden
und hat uns bracht das Leben;
des wir sollen fröhlich sein
,
Gott loben und ihm dankbar sein
und singen
Halleluja!

Christ lay in the bonds of death
given for our sins,
he is risen again
and has brought us life.
For this we shall be glad,
praise God and be grateful unto him
and sing
Hallelujah!

3. Versus 2: DUETT (Sopran, Alt)

Den Tod niemand zwingen kunnt
bei allen Menschenkinden
das macht alles unsre Sünd,
kein Unschuld war zu finden.
Davon kam der Tod so bald
und nahm über uns Gewalt,
hielt uns in seinem Reich gefangen.
Halleluja!

No one could have conquered death
among all humanity’s children;
this was entirely due to our sin,
no innocence was to be found.
Hence death came so swiftly
and wielded power over us,
holding us captive in its realm.
Hallelujah!

4. Versus 3: ARIA (Tenor)

Jesus Christus, Gottes Sohn,
an unser Statt ist kommen
und hat die Sünde weggetan,
damit dem Tod genommen
all sein Recht und sein Gewalt,
da bleibet nichts denn Todsgestalt,
den Stachl hat er verloren.
Halleluja!

Jesus Christ, God's Son,
has come in our stead
and has done away with sin,
thereby depriving death
of all its privilege and power
there remains nothing of death’sform,
it has lost its sting.
Hallelujah!

5. Versus 4: CHOR

Es war ein wunderlicher Krieg,
da Tod und Leben rungen,
das Leben behielt den Sieg,
es hat den Tod verschlungen.
Die Schrift hat verkündigt das,
wie ein Tod den andern fraß,
ein Spott aus dem Tod ist worden.
Halleluja!

It was a miraculous battle
when death and life wrestled;
life sustained the victory,
it swallowed up death.
The scriptures had foretold this,
how one death would devour the other,
a mockery is become of death.
Hallelujah!

6. Versus 5: ARIA (Baß)

Hier ist das rechte Osterlamm,
davon Gott hat geboten,
das ist hoch an des Kreuzes Stamm
in heißer Lieb gebraten,
das Blut zeichnet unsere Tür,
das hält der Glaub dem Tode für,
der Würger kann uns nicht mehr schaden.
Halleluja!

Here is the true Paschal Lamb
at the bidding of God
high on the stem of the cross, it is
roasted in ardent love.
Its blood marks our door,
that faith might hold death at bay,
the slayer can no longer harm us.
Hallelujah!

7. Versus 6: DUETT (Sopran, Tenor)

So feiern wir das hohe Fest
mit Herzensfreud und Wonne,
das uns der Herre scheinen läßt,
er ist selber die Sonne,
der durch seiner Gnade Glanz
erleuchtet unsre Herzen ganz,
der Sünden Nacht ist verschwunden.
Halleluja!

So we celebrate the high feast
with joy of heart and bliss
which the Lord lets shine upon us,
he is himself the sun
who, by the splendor of his grace
illuminates our hearts completely,
the night of sin is vanquished.
Hallelujah!

8. Versus 7: CHORAL

Wir essen und leben wohl
in rechten Osterfladen,
der alte Sauerteig nicht soll
sein bei dem Wort Gnaden,
Christus will uns die Koste sein
und speisen die Seel allein,
der Glaub will keins andern leben.
Halleluja!

We eat and indeed we live
from the true Pascal bread;
the ancient leavening need not
remain, beside the word of grace.
Christ will be the food
and alone feed the soul,
faith will subsist on nothing else.
Hallelujah! 

COMPOSED: ca. 1707 (Mühlhausen) for Easter
LIBRETTO: Martin Luther (1524) Christ lag in Todesbanden
TRANSLATION: 2017 © Tobin Schmuck, NYC
Print by permission only,
please. Click here.

Cantata BWV 4: Christ lag in Todesbanden for Easter Sunday
Details | Complete Recordings: 1900-1949 | 1950-1959 | 1960-1969 | 1970-1979 | 1980-1989 | 1990-1999 | 2000-2009 | 2010-2019 | Recordings of Individual Movements
Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

BWV 4: Text: German-1 | German-2 | German-6 (1) | German-6 (2) | German-7 (1) | Ger -7 (2) | NBA Text
Translations: English-1 | English-2 | English-3I | English-3P | English-5 | English-6 | English-7 | English-8 | English-10
Arabic-1 | Catalan-1 | Chinese-2 | Dutch-2 | Dutch-3 | French-1 | French-3 | French-4 | French-6 | Hebrew-1 | Hebrew-3 | Hungarian-1 | Hungarian-2 | Indonesian-1 | Italian-1 | Italian-2 | Japanese-6 | Norwegian-1 | Polish-1 | Portuguese-2 | Russian-1 | Russian-3 | Spanish-1 | Spanish-2 | Spanish-7
Chorale Text: Christ lag in Todesbanden

English Translations (English-10): Index by BWV Number | Index by Title | Index 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: Saturday, October 07, 2017 07:26