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Additional Information

Recordings & Discussions of Other Vocal Works: Main Page | Motets BWV 225-231 | Mass in B minor BWV 232 | Missae Breves & Sanctus BWV 233-242 | Magnificat BWV 243 | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 | Johannes-Passion BWV 245 | Lukas-Passion BWV 246 | Markus-Passion BWV 247 | Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248 | Oster-Oratorium BWV 249 | Chorales BWV 250-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-523 | Quodlibet BWV 524 | Aria BWV 1127

Motets BWV 225-231

General Discussions – Part 1

Motet etx

Hirotaka Kogure
wrote (November 10, 1997):
Hello. My name is Hiro, and I just joined the list a few days ago. I am writing this posting, hoping that somebody in this list could help me out & answer for me some questions in the following:
1) Some years ago I was reading the Neue Bach Ausgabe when I found a B-flat motetto named "O Jesu Christ mein Lebens Licht" (if I remember correct). This motetto seemed so beautiful to me, I really liked to hear it actually. After checking with many CD stores, however, I found out that this motetto is seldom recorded. My question: Is this motetto not written by J.S. Bach? I am pretty sure that this is attributed to J.S. Bach in NBA though I did not read the commentary. (Actually I cannot read nor write Deutsche....) I understand that the Thomas-Kirche possessed "the complete collection of Bach's motetten, according to Lochlitz back in 1801. Did the collection not include the B-flat motetto, so Mozart did not read the any parts of it?
2) Recently I had a chance to hear the Schemelli's hymn "O Jesulein Suess" when it drew my attention that the hymn was arranged by J.S. Bach. (It was in a Chorus setting.) Could anybody tell me how he arranged and/or change the original one. I would also like to know more about Schemelli, i.e., where he lived & what he did, etc. This is all for now. Thank you once again for your help. Have a nice day.

Michael Lorenz wrote (November 10, 1997):
(To Hirotaka Kogure) There's a fine recording of BWV 118 by the Monteverdi Choir and J.E. Gardiner (Erato2292-45979-2). This motet has survived in Bach's autograph with two alternative instrumental accompaniments. Outdoor-instruments for performance at the graveside (brass) and indoor (strings and the two "litui"). It can be found among the motets in the Neue Bach Ausgabe. In the 19th century it was classified as a cantata, but Bach himself titled it "Motette" in his autograph score. The melody of the chorale is "Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid" (like in the Dialogus-cantata BWV 58).

That's all for now.

Colin 't Hart wrote (November 10, 1997):
< Michael Lorenz wrote: there's a fine recording of BWV 118 by the Monteverdi Choir and J.E. >Gardiner (Erato2292-45979-2). >

This recording is great because they've made it twice as long by adding the second verse of the hymn in the same style.

Colin 't Hart wrote (November 10, 1997):
Actually, the recording I have is on DG Archiv and is coupled with BWV 106 and BWV 198 (Funeral cantatas).

Motet again

Hirotaka (Hiro) Kogure
wrote (November 10, 1997):
I would like to say thank you very much, Michael Lorenz & Colin 't Hart, for your quick & helpful replies so far. I really did not know that the B-flat motette (BWV118) was once classified as a Kantate. (I am very sorry for my ignorance.) Anyway, I checked my Choralgesaenge book, and could successfully find the melody of "Ach Gott wie manches Herzeleid" (C-C-C-A-H-C-D-C-H-A). Actually, I found this melody used in two works; namely in BWV 3 & BWV 153. This melody was exactly the same one as I still remember when reading the B-flat Motette. I will try the recording later that Michael & Colin kindly recommended to me. Once again thank you for your kind responses.

By the way, while I was reading Michael's previous message, again, some questions occurred to me. (Just because of my ignorance -- sorry.) My questions are as follows: 1) What are the definitions of "Motette" and "Kantate?" 2) What are the differences between M & K? 3) For what occasions were M & K composed?

For example, Michael said the BWV 118 Motette was performed at a "graveside," implying that the Motette was composed for a funeral service. Is this the case with the rest of J.S. Bach's motetten? Another example is that the B-flat Motette was not recognised as a "motette" in the previous Bach Ausgabe edition. Why did they think that this rather short Motette was a Kantate?

This is it, and I really look forward to hearing from anybody in this list. Also, let me mention that my question in my previous posting regarding Schemelli remains unanswered. I would appreciate it if anybody could answer me & educate me. Valete.

Michael Lorenz wrote (November 10, 1997):
[To Hirotaka Kogure]
1) The definition of "Motette" has changed since its invention in the 13th an 14th century and depends on the time, we are talking about. The protestant "Choralmotette" of Bach's age is a special sort of Motette. It's based on choral treatment and free settings of holy texts. A Kirchenkantate contains arias, recitatives and some choral verses, in most cases: chorus-recitative-aria-recitative-aria-chorus. Bach varied this pattern constantly, a Choralkantate is based on the verses of a church song throughout ("Lobe den Herren" BWV 137), a Solokantate skips the choir alltogether ("Jauchzet Gott" BWV 51).
2) see also 1) I think the main difference can be reduced to the application of arias (with a soggetto and ritornello) which are not to be found in a real motet. Listen to Bach's motets and compare them to cantatas, you will realise the difference at once. Thus BWV 118 is a motet: no recitative, no aria, choral treatment throughout.
3) for church services, burials, memorial services (the motet BWV 226 was composed for Ernesti's burial) etc. Bach's secular cantatas were written for means of entertainment, birthdays (BWV 214, of which a part later was used for the "Weihnachtsoratorium") and similar festivities (cantata BWV 207 for Kortten's appointment as professor at the Leipzig university) etc.

The occasions for which the motets where composed are still object of scholarly dispute. In the case of BWV 225 there are at least six different prominent theories to be found, varying from New Year's Day to a memorial service. You see, there are things we really don't know. A fact to cherish dearly. BWV 228 was written for memorial use, which can also be presumed in the case of BWV 227 and BWV 230. The reason for BWV 118 being classified as a cantata may lie in the orchestral intro which may have resembled that of a cantata for 19th century ears.

Norm wrote (November 10, 1997):
(To Michael Lorenz) Well, it certainly left me a little more educated ...


Enrico Bortolazzi
wrote (May 4, 1998):
My favourite is Eric Ericson on EMI label (Swedish). With a word I can say perfect! The choir is always well balanced and also the quality of the recording is very good, you can easily hear the two choirs on left and right and the orchestra is always under the voices.

Note that Eric Ericson is considered one of the most important choir directors.

Three or four years ago I listened on the radio the St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) with this choir and the Drottingham Baroque Orchestra executed live at Brescia (Italy) and I liked it very much.

Do you know if Ericson recorded the Passion?

Tomas (Lucas) Ramirez Gil wrote (May 5, 1998):
I like Kings' College performance in the late 1960's, although it isn't the best recording at all!

Laurent Bendel wrote (May 5, 1998):
We had that discussion with a few friends of mine (because we were going to sing BWV 227), so we sat down and compared five HIP recordings (sorry, that's what we like). We had Harnoncourt, Koopman, Kuijken, Jacobs and Herreweghe to compare. We picked "Jesu meine Freude", definitely the biggest and probably the most significative one.

Harnoncourt came a bit behind (the choir is not up to the standard set by the others), but the other four were close.

Herreweghe is a bit peculiar because he does it all with 5 soloists. Jacobs (and Kuijken if I remember well) use soloists only for some par. That makes a lot of sense, particularly in "Es is nun nichts..", a phrase that is repeated twice, the first time marked f and mf, the second time p and pp (if I'm not mistaken, but are these editorial notes ?). The contrast is nicely achieved by singing the latter with soloists. Koopman performs all of it with a full choir. Note that all used male voices for the altos.

Koopman was the overall winner, although not by much. He had the best chorals and an awesome chorus (ABC is just perfect). Personnally, I find Jacobs (with the RIAS Kammerchor) more dramatic, and he has a few breathtaking moments that nobody else has matched (IMHO).

Bottom line is, anyone of these four is a good choice for those of you who like historical performances. Has anyone done a similar comparison?

Stefan Millgĺrd wrote (May 5, 1998):
(To Enrico Bortolazzi) Eric Ericson have recorded st John passion (BWV 245), which is one of the greatest choir recordings ever. (Of course, in my opinion!) That opinion is shared by many great listeners around the world.

And I just read tanias letter; she said that he also had recorded the st matthew one, too.

I didn´t know that before, but I will immediately buy it.

Also, I would like to recommend his recording of Otto Olsson´s choirmusic in "musica svecia". It really isn´t Bach, but... He didn´t win the Polar-prize for nothing.

Arne Löfgren wrote (May 17, 1998):
(To Enrico Bortolazzi) I´m new on the list. My name is Arne Löfgren and I´m living in Borlange middle of Sweden. Now I just want to corect the name of the Swedish orhestra mensioned here. It is not "Drottingham..." but Drottningholm Baroque Orchestra. Drottning is swedish for queen and holm means small island.

I have the B-minor mass (BWV 232) with Ericson and this orchestra and Eric Ericson Chamber choir and I think its really good. Label: Vanguard Classics 99044/45 recorded 1992.


Simon Crouch
wrote: (August 3, 1998):
< Stefan Thorleifsson wrote: My name is Stefan and I am studying music in Aalborg University in Denmark. Maybe you can help me. Im writing about J.S. Bachs motets and I have problem with define the three types of motets: 1. Liedmotet, 2. Spruchmotet, 3. Choralemotet. >
A strong recommendation for a recent source on Bach's motets is "J.S.Bach and the German Motet" by Daniel Melamed (Cambridge UP). He explains well what the motet types at that time were and what they meant.


Ehud Shiloni
wrote (September 27, 1998):
< Emíle Swanepoel wrote: Yesterday I bought a CD of the Motets performed by the Regensburger Domspatzen etc. conducted by Hanns-Martin Schneidt (Archiv). I listened to this and was very impressed from the very start. I compared it with the JE Gardiner version on ERATO with some cantatas and the Motets. I must admit that I was disappointed by the "cold" manner with which this music was presented by Gardiner. Am I making a mistake here? >
I don't think that you are making a mistake. Although JEG Passions CD's are tops in my book, I agree that his Motets recording verges on the terrible...As a matter of fact I am even considering giving away this poor CD! The Regensburger CD is indeed nice, except that my personal taste does not go well with boys voices (No opinion here - strictly personal taste).

I have several other exquisite recordings of these great musical creations, some purchased following earlier discussions of the Motets on our recently "lethargic" list.

Does anyone feel like getting on with a new Motets discussion? I think it is a subject worthy of periodical "visits".

Brilliant Classics label

Wim Huisjes
wrote (October 21, 1999):
< Brian Ratekin wrote: I understand the Brilliant Classics Mark and Luke passions don't include the texts. Do you know where I could find the texts with an English
Also, you mentioned Corboz "does fine" with the motets. I have Harnoncourt's and Gardiner's recordings of the motets. Do you consider Corboz's recording better than these? >
Don't know about the texts. Brilliant Classics did provide the texts of Schemelli's Gesangbuch, Mass in b (BWV 232) (both with English translations), the motets, Lutheran masses and Easter Oratorium (BWV 249) (without English translations). Not very consistent, so I'll have to wait and see what happens when Kruidvat comes around with the passions set. Since each reconstruction of the Luke and Mark passions will have a different text: if B.C doesn't provide them, we'll have a problem, though Simon Crouch mentioned a source where the text of the Goodman performance of St. Mark (BWV 247) can be found. Maybe the text of the Luke passion comes close to the one Helbich uses on CPO.

As for the motet performance: I don't know the Harnoncourt performance, but Corboz certainly does better than Gardiner on Erato. Erato's sound is a bit muddy, on B.C it's very transparent. Seems that Corboz uses a slightly smaller choir (the Lausanne ensemble). Each line can be easily followed, even in BWV 225 for 8 voices. Corboz chooses lively tempi and finds the right musical expression to go with the text. Excitement where it is called for, and devotion where intended.

All of which cannot be said of the Gardiner/Erato 1982 recording. Christophers on Hyperion sounds a bit subdued. Herreweghe on HMF is hard to beat, but on B.C., Corboz certainly is in the same league IMHO. If I had to guess: Harnoncourt probably doesn't do better.

Mostly Motets: Bach et al in DC

Galina Kolomietz
wrote (May 21, 2000):
I just went to a performance entitled "Mostly Motets," presented by the Washington Bach Consort, dir. J. Reilly Lewis. The program consisted of the works by J.S. Bach, his family and circle.

In addition to J.S. Bach, the composers featured in the program were:
- Georg Philipp Telemann, founder of Collegium Musicum, later directed by Bach;
- Johann Christoph Altnikol, Bach's student and son-in-law;
- Johann Christoph Bach, Bach's uncle;
- Johann Gottfried Walther, Bach's cousin;
- Johann ("Hans") Bach, brother of Bach's grandfather;
- Dietrich Buxtehude, organizer of the famous series of evening concerts the Abendmusiken, which Bach attended in 1705;
- Johann Ernst Bach, great-grandson of Johann ("Hans") Bach;
- Johann Pachebel, teacher of Bach's oldest brother, Johann Christoph.

Held at a church with excellent dry acoustics, the performance exceeded all my expectations. The 25-person chorus was just the right size for this repertory. The choral sound was superb. It had the clarity and precision of a single voice but with the strength and ambience of multiple voices. The unforgiving acoustic highlighted the technical skill of the group. The lack of resonance meant that the voices in each section did not blend completely, but remained a bundle of individual strands - it could have been a recipe for disappointment but it wasn't. The singing did not sound thin - it sounded mathematically pure. This was the Washington Bach Consort at their absolute best.

The program was very well chosen. Motets were interspersed with organ pieces. There was also a small orchestral piece - the opening Sinfonia from BWV 42 (actually, this was probably the weakest part of the program - the bassoon was very obtrusive). One of the organ pieces (J.S. Bach's BWV 543) was played on the large church organ. The other organ pieces were played on a small concert organ (by comparison, these were less overwhelming). These were short pieces, all based on chorale melodies. To make the underlying melody more obvious to the listeners, the chorale line was played simultaneously with the organ by an oboe or, in one case, a cello. It was interesting.

Six of the works were by J.S. Bach himself: Prelude and Fugue in A minor BWV 543, the just mentioned Sinfonia, Komm Jesu komm BWV 229, Der Geist hilft unsrer Schwachheit auf BWV 226, Ich lasse dich nicht BWV 159, and Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied BWV 225. The authorship of BWV 159, however, is uncertain. According to the notes in the program, the opening part of it was probably written by J.C. Bach (Bach's uncle), but the section beginning at bar 84 (a chorale in one voice with contrapunctal commentary from other voices) was probably added by J.S. Bach. The difference between the two sections was indeed evident even to somebody like me.

To me, the highlight of the performance were two little-known motets by Johann Bach and Johann Ernst Bach. Johann Bach was a composer of an earlier generation, and the style of his motet Sei nun wieder zufrieden was striking different from the other motets in the program. This motet was poly-choral (the chorus actually split into two) and very Schütz-like.

Johann Ernst Bach was also a composer of a different generation - the one after J.S. Bach. His motet Unser Wandel ist im Himmel showed strong galant influences. The interesting thing about this motet was that it had never been performed in the U.S.! Lewis announced that this motet was so rare that even the Library of Congress didn't have a copy. The facsimile of the original score was obtained by Lewis from a library in Germany. Lewis said he would be happy to share the score with others willing to perform this wonderful and unjustly forgotten work.

Another performance of "Mostly Motets" is tomorrow (Sunday), here in DC, and on June 7, in Baltimore, MD.

Engmensurierte Trompete

Teri Noel Towe
wrote (December 1, 2000):
For more than 30 years I have had a Cantate black disc of two Bach motets in which an "engmensurierte Trompete" and an "engmensurierte Alt-Posaune" are used in the performanc of "Jesu meine Freude".

Can anyone tell me for certain what these instruments are?

Bach Motets - OVPP vs. MVPP

Matthew Westphal wrote (December 1, 2000):
< Harry J. Steinman wrote: What I like about the OVPP (One Voice Per Part) approach is that since the singers do not have to 'match' their singing so precisely to the other singers in their range (the sopranos with sopranos, etc.) the singers are free to be more expressive...and I love that.

However, consider the Cantus Cölln/Junghänel release of the Motets...I compare the recording to that of Herreweghe. What I find is that somehow, the precision that the Herreweghe singers engender seems to be very appropriate to the Motets. And so the use of larger forces compares favorably to the OVPP approach. >
I find just the opposite. The freedom to be "expressive" -- specifically, to be rhetorical (call it oratorical) -- to which Harry refers is precisely why I find OVPP to work much better in the Motets. That and the clarity the OVPP approach gives to the Motets' particularly dense counterpoint.

It should be said, I suppose, that the Cantus Cölln conert performances of the Motets I heard in October were, to my ears, noticeably more outgoing rhetorically than were those on Cantus Cölln's DHM recording from several years ago.

Resarch on the 'Bach Motets"

Michael Derringer
wrote (January 25, 2001):
Does anyone know where I may find some descriptions on the Motets? I am looking for a few paragraphs on each one suitable for reading out on a student radio station. Many thanks in advance.

Wimjan wrote (January 25, 2001):
(To Nichael Derringer) Have a look at Natalie Beck's essay "TRADITION AND INDIVIDUAL STYLE IN THE MOTETS OF J.S. BACH" at I'm sure you'll be able todistill a nice text from this.

Michael Derringer wrote (January 25, 2001):
(To Wimjan) Thanks - that is just what I needed.


Daniel Hobbs wrote (April 7, 2001):
OK, let's talk motets. So far I've heard the admirable Naxos recording and the Koopman recording on Philips. I like both for different reasons, but I'd love to hear more versions. This is such divine music, so I feel like (as with so much of Bach's oeuvre) anyone's version would be worth a listen (no matter how much they f*#k it up). Any suggestions? Also, I've seen on Amazon a recording of the "Apocryphal" motets--qu'est-ce que c'est?

Harry J. Steinman wrote (April 7, 2001):
(To Daniel Hobbs) ...My two faves are the OVPP (One Voice Per Part) version by Cantus Cölln, conducted by Junhängel with Cantus Cölln (Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, 05472 77368 2) and the recording by Herreweghe, (Harmonia Mundi, 901231). I believe that you'll enjoy both. I prefer, slightly, the Junhängel recording because the OVPP approach allows one to hear the individual voices more clearly and it allows the singers to be more expressive, as they do not have to concentrate on matching the other singers in their range. On the other hand, Herreweghe's recording is rich, finely textured and a joy to hear.

Kirk McElhearn wrote (April 7, 2001):
(To Daniel Hobbs) Well, I have three. The two most interesting are the Cantus Cölln (OVPP) which is light and airy, and the René Jacobs, which is more stately, with a larger choir. But both are really excellent.

Johan van Veen wrote (April 7, 2001):
(To Daniel Hobbs) You should at least go for a version in which the BWV 225 (Singet dem Herrn) is really complete: according to Bach the second section should be repeated with a different text and with the choirs switching roles. As far as I can remember only Gardiner and Jacobs follow that practice.

Philip Peters wrote (April 7, 2001):
(To Daniel Hobbs) There are many good recordings of the motets but at this point they are all overshadowed by the incredible Cantus Cölln (1997), IMO the best recording by a very wide margin...(Deutsche Historia Mundi 05472 77368 2).

Charles Francis wrote (April 7, 2001):
(To Daniel Hobbs) Personal favourite: "Kammerchor der Augsberger Domsingknaben" directed by Richard Kammler on DHM. Excellent boys choir and boy soloists; expressive performance; contrast of choir and 'soloists' adds interest.

Also worth having: Cantus Cölln - singing is good, but OVPP singing is somewhat relentless. Performance uses women singers, so not authentic.

Some other recordings:
Kammerchor Stuttgart (Frieder Bernius) - boys choir; interesting
Alsfelder Vokalensemble (Wolfgang Helbich) - boys choir
Regensberger Domspatzen (Hans-Martin Schneidt) - boys choir
BBC Singers (Cleobury)
Monteverdi Choir (Gardiner) - strong orchestral flavour

Johan van Veen wrote (April 7, 2001):
(To Daniel Hobbs) The CD "Apocryphal Motets" contains motets which were for some time thought to be composed by Bach and therefore were included in the Schmieder Catalogue (BWV). These are now thought to be written by others. There are 6 motets on the CD:

1) Johann Sebastian BACH (?)/Georg Philipp TELEMANN (?): Jauchzet dem Herrn, alle Welt (BWV Anh. 160)
2) Johann Ernst BACH: Unser Wandel ist im Himmel (BWV Anh. 165)
3) Johann Christoph ALTNICKOL: Nun danket alle Gott (BWV Anh. 164)
4) Johann Sebastian BACH (?)/Johann Christoph BACH (?): Ich lasse Dich nicht, Du
segnest mich denn
(BWV Anh. 159)
5) BACH 'di Eisenach': Merk auf, mein Herz, und sieh dorthin (BWV Anh. 163)
6) Georg Gottfried WAGNER: Lob und Ehre und Weisheit (BWV Anh. 162)

The performance is by the Alsfelder Vokalensemble, directed by Wolfgang Helbich. It's on CPO (999 235-2). It's well worth exploring.

By the way, the same choir has also recorded "apocryphal cantatas" which are also interesting.

Charles Francis wrote (April 7, 2001):
(To Johan van Veen) Note, the latest musicological thinking is that "Ich lasse Dich nicht, Du segnest mich denn" is after all by Johann Sebastian Bach!!! It reminds me somewhat of the fashion industry "Blue's out, Orange is in (again)".

It doesn't sounds like JSB, however, IMVHO, of course.

Bach Motetes – Revisited

Piotr Jaworski wrote (May 30, 2001):
Find some time to read the review hidden behind the following link:

This is the recent ASV Gaudeamus release - Bach 'Motets' performed by the Sarum Consort, directed by Andrew Mackay.

No matter the recording concerned - de gustibus non es ... - but the arguments (especially quotes!) used, reference recordings given as examples are significant and interesting. No Kuijken, no Koopman, no Junghanel .. the recordings I've been always thinking as the landmarks in their respective cathegories ... Anyone already heard the Sarums' Motets?

Bach motet for Adve/Christmas

Junky Dan wrote:
I'd like to tackle one of the Bach motets with my choir for our concert on the eve of Advent Sunday this year. Are any of the motets particularly well-suited for performance in Advent or at Christmas?

If not, what alternatives are there in the Cantatas? Obviously there's 'Wachet Auf', but what about the others?

Thanks for any help in this!

Carolyn Paulin wrote (August 31, 2001):
[To Junky Dan] The Bach motets are wonderful, if very difficult works. the most festive are Motet I, "Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied" (for double chorus, perhaps written for New Year's Day, 1727) and Motet II, Der Geist hilft unsrer Schwachheit auf" (from 1728, a funeral motet). The other motets really are funeral works - while gorgeous, not really suitable for Advent or Christmas.

How about the Cantata "Tönet ihr Pauken" a Christmas cantata from about 1733, that is source material for the first movement of the Christmas Oratorio?

Dr. Philip L. Copeland wrote (August 31, 2001):
[To Carolyn Paulin] J.S. Bach composed three cantatas for the first Sunday in Advent: Schwingt freudig euch empor (BWV 36) and two cantatas bearing the name Nun komm der Heiden Heiland (BWV 61 and BWV 62).

John Howell [Virginia Tech Department of Music, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.] wrote (August 31, 2001):
[To Dr. Philip L. Copeland] And of course his Christmas Oratorio is actually 6 separate cantatas used on 6 different days between Christmas and Epiphany.

Robert Ross [Artistic Director, Voces Novae et Antiquae, Philadelphia, PA] wrote (August 31, 2002):
[To Junky Dan] An easier one is the "unofficial" motet (i.e., not among the "Big 6") ‘Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren’ from BWV 28, which is available separately from Breitkopf. I haven't seen the rest of the cantata, but it may well be appropriate to your needs.

You might also want to look at the Christmas interpolations from the ‘Magnificat’, which can be had in the Barenreiter, Peters, and Könemann
Musica Budapest (dist. Mel Bay) editions.

Finally, a note re "Tönet ihr Pauken": Yes, it consists of material which wound up in the ‘Christmas Oratorio’ (BWV 248), but it is definitively a secular cantata.

Thomas D. Rossin [Conductor, Exulttae] wrote (September 10, 2001):
[To Robert Ross] The Bach Motet - Komm, Jesu, Komm - has text which can easily fit into the Advent theme. We performed it last year at our Christmas Concerts and it was very successful. Just the opening 3 words fit advent very well by imploring Jesus to "Come." The rest of the text amplifies and explores the reasons why.

James M. Baldwin wrote (September 11, 2002):
Personally, I wouldn't use Komm Jesu, Komm at Advent, as there are too many references to the speaker's death. for example, the text of the Aria is "So I give myself into thy hands,\ and bid goodnight to you, oh world! \ Thought the course of my life hastens to its end, \ the spirit is truly ready. \ Let it dwell with its creator, \ since Jesus is and ever shall be the true way to life.\

The sense of Jesus "coming" is much less of his birth, and much more of his arriving to take a person from their earthly life into heaven.

Thomas D. Rossin [Conductor, Exulttae] wrote (September 10, 2001):
[To James M. Baldwin] Yes - the Bach Motet, "Komm, Jesu Komm" is a funeral motet but the text also fits Advent. Advent is a penetential season and as such points to our unworthiness, our "müde." During advent, Christians await Christ's coming at the end of time as well as his coming as the Babe of Bethlehem. In this most intimate of his motets, Bach eloquently expresses the deep longing of all believers to meet their Savior, for Jesus to "come." "Ich seine mich, nach deinem Frieden." "Komm, komm, ich will mich dir ergaeben." These are truly advent themes (as well as funeral).

References to death are indeed Advent themes resulting from themes of the end time, the eschaton and the second coming.

Bach would have no problem singing this during Advent.

Motets by TACET

Piotr Jaworski
wrote (October 30, 2001):
Is anyone directly familiar with the following recording:

J.S. BACH: Motetten BWV 225-229; Sächsisches Vokalenseble, Matthias Jung. Tacet 108

I saw several enthusiastic reviews of this CD.

Continue on Part 2

Motets BWV 225-231: Details
Recordings: Until 1970 | 1970-1979 | 1980-1989 | 1990-1999 | 2000-2009
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Systematic Discussions: BWV 225 | BWV 226 | BWV 227 | BWV 228 | BWV 229 | BWV 230 | BWV 231 | BWV 225-231 - Summary
Individual Recordings:
Motets – Cantus Cölln | Motets – Ericson | Motets – Fasolis | Motets – Harnoncourt | Motets - Kammler

Recordings & Discussions of Other Vocal Works: Main Page | Motets BWV 225-231 | Mass in B minor BWV 232 | Missae Breves & Sanctus BWV 233-242 | Magnificat BWV 243 | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 | Johannes-Passion BWV 245 | Lukas-Passion BWV 246 | Markus-Passion BWV 247 | Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248 | Oster-Oratorium BWV 249 | Chorales BWV 250-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-523 | Quodlibet BWV 524 | Aria BWV 1127


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