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Cantata BWV 50
Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft und das Reich
English Translation in Interlinear Format
Cantata BWV 50 - Now is the salvation

Event: Cantata for Feast of St Michael and All Angels
Readings: Epistle: Revelations 12: 7-12; Gospel: Matthew 18: 1-11
Text: After Revelation 12: 10

Biblical quotations in green font, chorales in purple

1

Chorus [S, A, T, B / S, A, T, B]

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

Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft und das Reich und die Macht unsers Gottes
Now is the salvation and the strength and the kingdom and the might of our God
seines Christus worden,
become [those] of his Christ,
weil der verworfen ist,
since he has been cast out
der sie verklagete Tag und Nacht vor Gott.
who complained about them day and night before God.

Note on the Text

About BWV 50 there are many questions, few clear answers. No autograph survives and all sources date from after 1750. The text is taken from Revelations 12: 10, part of the readings for Michaelmas (Revelations 12: 7-10). After an account of a battle betweeen a dragon and Michael and the angels, a voice proclaims Michael's victory in the words of our text. The one surviving movement could be either the opening or concluding movement of a more extensive cantata intended for Michaelmas .If this is the case it is generally supposed to date from Bach's first year in Leipzig and would have been performed on September 29th 1723. It is the only cantata that uses a double choir.Because of this and other unusual features scholars have speculated this movement may not be by Bach or that it is a reworking of a Bach original by a later pupil or composer. John Eliot Gardiner pertinently asks : Who other than Bach amongst his German contemporaries could have come up with such an extreme compresion of ideas, at the same time giving the impresssion of colossal spatial breadth and majesty.

As usual Julian Mincham gives a clear and perceptive account of the technical issues:
http://www.jsbachcantatas.com/documents/chapter-55-bwv-50-bwv-200-bwv-1045.htm

But when he concludes his valuable discussion:We can only lament the probable loss of the remainder of a work that began so commandingly and with so much promise. I am more inclined to agree with W.G.Whittaker:

This is one of the most superb of Bach's choruses, a great masterpiece of the highest order.One is glad that it is a torso, that one may listen to it in its solitary grandeur, not preceded or followed by arias and recitatives, which could only be overshadowed by its colossal stature. (Vol 2, p167)

Except for the most fundamental of Christians the apocalyptic imagery of the biblical text probably seems remote and alien.But some of what Bach's magnificent music expresses here can perhaps be summed up in William Blake's phrase :
Energy is eternal delight.

(An appropriately vigorous and joyful perfomance can be found at:
http://allofbach.com/en/bwv/bwv-50/ on the marvellously generous All of Bach website, for which I cannot begin to express my gratitude and appreciation)

This Translation in Parallel Format

English Translation by Francis Browne (March 2003)
Contributed by Francis Browne (March 2003; September 2015: Note on the Text)

Cantata BWV 50: Details & Complete Recordings
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Last update: ýSeptember 22, 2015 ý21:15:02