All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Nimm, was dein ist, und gehe hin

BWV 144 performed by the Netherlands Bach Society conducted by Jos van Veldhoven.
Grote Kerk, Naarden

"Most cantatas have an orchestral introduction or even a Sinfonia but this one starts with text."

Don’t complain and go away

Bach changes the mood with his favourite hymn.

It’s amazing what you can do with a hymn that appeals to you! Bach used the chorale ‘Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan’ for no fewer than seven cantata arrangements. The optimism and faith in God exuded by it must have touched him deeply.
Here, Bach uses the first verse as a turning point. The words of the cantata talk about the dissatisfied workers in the parable in the Gospel according to St Matthew. The opening comes straight to the point: don’t complain and go away is the strict message contained in a fugue, which is given to the men who think they have been underpaid. In the ensuing aria, a gentle alto encourages them to take satisfaction, although you still hear the echo of the workers’ grumble in the lower regions. The second chorale ‘Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan’ forms the turning point, where the message is ‘Have a little faith’. The tenor and soprano take the wise lesson to heart, following which the cantata closes aptly with the chorale that appears in the St Matthew Passion, among other works: ‘Was mein Gott will, das g’scheh allzeit’.
The key line of that final chorale, ‘Sein Will, der ist der beste’, must have lingered in the mind of Severus Gastorius as well. When he wrote the words to ‘Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan’ for his friend Samuel Rodigast, the latter’s life was hanging in the balance. However, he did not die and was able to set the words to music. Whether or not he was a great composer remains to be seen, as although he later became cantor in Jena, little of his music is known, and he based ‘Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan’ on a melody from a previously published collection of songs. We do know, however, that Rodigast was attached to the hymn, as his pupils sang it every week at his home. At his request, it was also performed at his funeral, when he died seven years later, in 1682.


Nimm, was dein ist, und gehe hin





unknown/Samuel Rodigast

Septuagesima Sunday (Ninth Sunday before Easter)

First performance
6 February 1724

Special notes
Bach used the words and melody of ‘Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan’ no fewer than seven times in his cantatas.

Cast & Crew

Release date 30 October 2015
Recording date 7 February 2015
Location Grote Kerk, Naarden
Conductor Jos van Veldhoven
Soprano Gerlinde Sämann
alto Damien Guillon
tenor Charles Daniels
bass Peter Kooij
ripieno soprano Marjon Strijk, Hilde Van Ruymbeke
ripieno alto Elsbeth Gerritsen, Barnabás Hegyi
ripieno tenor Kevin Skelton, Endrik Üksvärav
ripieno bass Michiel Meijer, Drew Santini
VIOLIN 1 Sayuri Yamagata, Pieter Affourtit, Hanneke Wierenga
VIOLIN 2 Anneke van Haaften, Paulien Kostense, Lidewij van der Voort
VIOLA Staas Swierstra, Jan Willem Vis
cello Lucia Swarts, Richte van der Meer
DOUBLE BASS Maggie Urquhart
traverso Marten Root
OBOE Martin Stadler
BASSOON Yukiko Murakami
positive organ Leo van Doeselaar
MUSIC RECORDING PRODUCERS Guido Tichelman, Bastiaan Kuijt
CAMERA Jorrit Garretsen, Ruben van den Broeke, Diderik Evers, Maarten van Rossem
GAFFER Zen Bloot, Harm Bredero
Score reader Stijn Berkouwer
BEST BOY Marcel Brugman
CAMERA ASSISTaNT Wesley Westerhuis
concert Production Erik van Lith, Marco Meijdam
ProducERS JeanMarc van Sambeek, Jessie Verbrugh
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Angela Mast, Marlo Reeders

Vocal Texts


1. Chor

Nimm, was dein ist, und gehe hin.

2. Arie (Alt)

Murre nicht,
lieber Christ,
wenn was nicht nach Wunsch geschicht;
sondern sei mit dem zufrieden,
was dir dein Gott hat beschieden,
er weiss, was dir nützlich ist.

3. Choral

Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan,
es bleibt gerecht sein Wille;
wie er fängt meine Sachen an,
will ich ihm halten stille.
Er ist mein Gott,
der in der Not
mich wohl weiss zu erhalten:
drum lass’ ich ihn nur walten.

4. Rezitativ (Tenor)

Wo die Genügsamkeit regiert
und überall das Ruder führt,
da ist der Mensch vergnügt
mit dem, wie es Gott fügt.
Dagegen, wo die Ungenügsamkeit das Urtel spricht,
da stellt sich Gram und Kummer ein,
das Herz will nicht
zufrieden sein,
und man gedenket nicht daran:
was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan.

5. Arie (Sopran)

ist ein Schatz in diesem Leben,
welcher kann Vergnügung geben
in der grössten Traurigkeit,
Denn es lässet sich in allen
Gottes Fügung wohl gefallen

6. Choral

Was mein Gott will, das g’scheh allzeit,
sein Will, der ist der beste.
Zu helfen den'n er ist bereit,
die an ihn glauben feste.
Er hilft aus Not, der fromme Gott,
und züchtiget mit Massen.
Wer Gott vertraut, fest auf ihn baut,
den will er nicht verlassen.


1. Chorus

Take that thine is, and go thy way.

2. Aria

Do not murmur,
dear man of Christ,
when your wish is not fulfilled;
rather be contented
with what your God has apportioned you,
He knows what will help you.

3. Chorale

What God doth is well done,
His will is just and lasts forever;
however He acts on my behalf,
I shall stand by Him calmly.
He is my God,

who sustains me

when I am in distress;
that is why I let Him prevail.

4. Recitative

Wherever contentedness reigns

and is at the helm,

there mankind is satisfied

with what God ordains.
But when discontent
passes judgement,
grief and worry ensue,

the heart is
and it is forgotten that
what God doth is well done.

5. Aria

is a jewel in this life,
that can bring pleasure
amid the greatest sadness,
for it consents to all
that God ordains,

6. Chorale

May my God’s will always be done,
His will is the best will,
He is prepared to help those
who steadfastly believe in Him.
He helps us in need, this righteous God,
and punishes with moderation.
Who trusts in God, relies on Him,
him shall He never abandon.


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