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Cantata BWV 61
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland [I]
English Translation in Interlinear Format
Cantata BWV 61 - Now come, saviour of the gentiles

Event: 1st Sunday in Advent
Readings: Epistle: Romans 13: 11-14; Gospel: Matthew 21: 1-9
Text: Martin Luther (Mvt. 1); Erdmann Neumeister (Mvts. 2-3, 5); Revelation 3:20 (Mvt. 4); Philipp Nicolai (Mvt. 6)
Chorale Texts: Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern | Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland

Biblical quotations in green font, chorales in purple

1

Chorus [S, A, T, B]

Violino I/II all' unisono, Viola I/II, Fagotto, Continuo

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland,
Now come, saviour of the gentiles,
Der Jungfrauen Kind erkannt,
recognised as the child of the Virgin,
Des sich wundert alle Welt,
at whom all the world is amazed
Gott solch Geburt ihm bestellt.
that God decreed such a birth for him.

2

Recitative [Tenor]

Continuo

Der Heiland ist gekommen,
The saviour has come,
Hat unser armes Fleisch und Blut
and has our humble flesh and blood
An sich genommen
taken on himself
Und nimmet uns zu Blutsverwandten an.
and accepts us as his blood relations
O allerhöchstes Gut,
O highest goodness of all,
Was hast du nicht an uns getan?
what have you not done for us ?
Was tust du nicht
What do you not do
Noch täglich an den Deinen?
still every day for your people?
Du kömmst und läßt dein Licht
You come and let your light
Mit vollem Segen scheinen.
shine with full blessing.

3

Aria [Tenor]

Violino I/II, Viola I/II all' unisono, Continuo

Komm, Jesu, komm zu deiner Kirche
Come, Jesus, come to your church
Und gib ein selig neues Jahr!
and grant us a blessed new year!
Befördre deines Namens Ehre,
Increase the honour of your name,
Erhalte die gesunde Lehre
Preserve sound teaching
Und segne Kanzel und Altar!
and bless pulpit and altar!

4

Recitative [Bass]

Violino I/II, Viola I/II, Continuo

Siehe, ich stehe vor der Tür und klopfe an.
See, I stand before the door and knock.
So jemand meine Stimme hören wird
If anyone will hear my voice
und die Tür auftun,
and open the door
zu dem werde ich eingehen
I shall go in
und das Abendmahl mit ihm halten und er mit mir.
and have supper with him and he with me.

5

Aria [Soprano]

Violoncelli, Continuo

Öffne dich, mein ganzes Herze,
Open, my whole heart
Jesus kömmt und ziehet ein.
Jesus comes and enters within
Bin ich gleich nur Staub und Erde,
Though I am only like dust and earth,
Will er mich doch nicht verschmähn,
he does not want to scorn me
Seine Lust an mir zu sehn,
but to see his pleasure in me
Daß ich seine Wohnung werde.
so that I become his dwelling.
O wie selig werd ich sein!
Oh how blessed I shall be!

6

Chorale [S, A, T, B]

Viola I coll'Alto, Viola II col Tenore, Fagotto col Basso, Violino I/II all' unisono, Continuo

Amen, amen!
Komm, du schöne Freudenkrone, bleib nicht lange!

Come, you beautiful crown of joy, do not delay for a long time !
Deiner wart ich mit Verlangen.
I wait for you with longing.

Note on the text:

This, one of the best known of all Bach's cantatas, was composed at the end of 1714 and first performed in the Weimar court chapel on Advent Sunday, 2 December 1714. The libretto is by Erdmann Neumeister, pastor in Hamburg and the main architect of the reform cantata incorporating simple recitative and da capo arias characteristic of Italian opera. The text was published three years later in Neumeister's Fünffache Kirchen-Andachten (Leipzig, 1717). The cantata is therefore one of Bach's earliest expositions in the new cantata form, and the first one he is known to have composed to a libretto by Neumeister.

The introductory movement uses the first verse of the ancient church hymn Veni, redemptor gentium in the German version by Martin Luther (1524). For many years this hymn was used in the Lutheran church at the beginning of Advent. The recitative of the fourth movement is a quotation from Revelation 3 : 20. The concluding chorale uses the Abgesang of the last verse of Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern by Philipp Nicolai (1599).

In the freely composed movements Neumeister develops a train of thought in the manner of a sermon: the Saviourís coming brings us new blessings each day( movement 2); this is connected to the prayer that Jesus may come to the church as to his own community (movement 3) . After the biblical quotation of the fourth movement Jesus is requested to enter also into the hearts of individual Christians and not to treat them with the scorn deserved by their sinfulness. In both arias therefore communal and individual prayers for the Saviourís coming are the theme of the poetry.

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

Texts and literal translations of the chorales may be found at: Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern | Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland

The hymn of Saint Ambrose is added below:

 

Veni, redemptor gentium: literal translation

Hymn for Christmas Eve by Saint Ambrose

Veni, redemptor gentium,
ostende partum virginis;
miretur omne saeculum,
talis decet partus Deum.

Come, redeemer of peoples,
show that a virgin has given birth;
let all the world be amazed,
such a birth is fitting for God

non ex virili semine,
sed mystico spiramine
verbum Dei factum est caro
fructusque ventris floruit.

Not from human seed
but from the Holy Spirit
the Word of God has become flesh
and the fruit of [Mary's womb] has come to maturity.

alvus tumescit virginis,
claustrum pudoris permanet,
vexilla virtutum micant, ,
versatur in templo Deus.

The virgin's belly swells,
the lock of her chastity endures,
standards displaying her virtues shine brightly,
God is present in his temple.

procedat e thalamo suo
pudoris aula regia
geminae gigas substantiae,
alacris ut currat viam.

Let him come forth from his chamber,
from his royal palace of chastity,
the giant of double substance,
to run his race eagerly.

egressus eius a patre,
regressus eius ad patrem,
excursus usque ad inferos,
recursus ad sedem Dei.

He goes forth from the Father,
he returns to the Father,
he journeys as far as hell,
he journeys back to the throne of God.

aequalis aeterno patri,
carnis tropaeo cingere,
infirma nostri corporis
virtute firmans perpeti.

You who are equal with the everlasting Father,
be clothed in the trophy of flesh,
the weaknesses of our body
with your courage strengthening to bear steadfastly.

praesepe iam fulget tuum
lumenque nox spirat suum,
quod nulla nox interpolet
fideque iugi luceat.

Now your crib shines bright
lumenque nox spirat suum,
and the night breathes/reveals its light,
a light which no night shall obscure
and which shall shine with constant faith.

   

This first verse of Ambroseís hymn, based on Psalm lxxix Vulg., is usually omitted

intende, qui regis Israel,
super Cherubim qui sedes,
appare Ephrem coram, excita
potentiam tuam et veni.

Listen , you who rule Israel
who are enththroned above the Cherubim
appear in the presence of Ephraim, stir up your power and come.

   

A detailed discussion of the hymn (in German) can be found at: http://www.pegasus-onlinezeitschrift.de/alte_seite/erga32002wagner.htm

Lutherís adaption of the hymn is discussed by Dick Wursten at: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV62-D.htm

--

This Translation in Parallel Format

English Translation by Francis Browne (April 2002; revised March 2005)
Contributed by Francis Browne (April 2002, March )

Cantata BWV 61: Details & Complete Recordings | Recordings of Individual Movements | Discussions: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4
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Chorale Texts:
Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern | Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland

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Last update: żMarch 20, 2012 ż14:45:31