All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe

BWV 22 performed by the Netherlands Bach Society conducted by Sigiswald Kuijken
Walloon Church, Amsterdam

"It is top-quality music, but it would have been the same if it hadn't been a test piece."

No frivolities

Was Bach trying to suit prevailing musical tastes in Leipzig in this audition cantata?

Bach wrote this cantata as an ‘audition piece’. He was applying for the position of cantor of the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, and part of his application procedure was to perform two cantatas he had written himself. The starting point for these compositions was, of course, the words, which had been sent to his home beforehand and which he would have used as his basis. But there is discussion about whether he tried his best to please the council in Leipzig. Conductor Sigiswald Kuijken believes this was not the case, whereas others claim that these cantatas do show that Bach tried to suit prevailing musical tastes in Leipzig.

They think this is demonstrated, for instance, by the fact that he did not go over the top regarding virtuosity, as he did not yet know exactly how good the musicians in Leipzig were. Or by the lack of arias in which the opening is repeated at the end and the absence of recitatives with only continuo accompaniment. This sort of da capo aria and secco recitative were commonly used in opera, and some members of the Leipzig council believed that church music should not be interlaced with theatrical frivolities.

The fact that Bach certainly based his composition on the words is demonstrated in the first movement. He divides the reading from the Gospel of St Luke into three parts, respectively introducing a narrator, the bass who sings Vox Christi and then the whole ensemble, who express the amazement of the disciples in a fugue.


BWV
22

Title
Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe

Genre
cantata

Year
1723

City
Leipzig

Lyricist
unknown

Occasion
Quinquagesima (the last Sunday before Lent)

First Performance
7 February 1723

Special Notes
One of Bach’s two audition cantatas for his appointment as cantor of the Thomaskirche in Leipzig.

Cast & Crew

Release Date 29 July 2016
Recording Date 23 April 2016
Location Waloon Church, Amsterdam
Conductor and violoncello da spalla Sigiswald Kuijken
sopraan Miriam Feuersinger
Alto Damien Guillon
Tenor Wolfram Lattke
Bass Christian Immler
Ripieno Soprano Griet de Geyter
Ripieno alto Barnabás Hegyi
Ripieno Tenor Kevin Skelton
Ripieno bass Sebastian Myrus
Violin 1 Shunske Sato, Pieter Affourtit
Violin 2 Sayuri Yamagata, Anneke van Haaften
Viola Staas Swierstra
Violoncello da spalla Lucia Swarts
violone Robert Franenberg
Oboe Martin Stadler
Bassoon Benny Aghassi
trumpet Robert Vanryne
Organ Leo van Doeselaar
Harpsichord Siebe Henstra
Director and editor Bas Wielenga
MUSIC RECORDING Guido Tichelman, Bastiaan Kuijt, Pim van der Lee
MUSIC EDITOR Guido Tichelman
CAMERA Jochem Timmerman, Martin Struijf, Merijn Vrieling, Chris Reigelt
SCORE READER Ferenc Soeteman
Lights Zen Bloot, Gijs 't Hoen
video engineers Vincent Nugteren, Justin Mutsaers
camera assistants Robert Wijermans, Leon Mignon
set technicians Justin Mutsaers, Chris Reichgelt
Data handling Jesper Blok
PROJECT MANAGER Peter Ribbens
Producer concert and film Marco Meijdam, Imke Deters, Jessie Verbrugh
INTERVIEW Onno van Ameijde
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Nienke Meuleman

Vocal Texts

Original

1. Arioso (Tenor, Bass, Chor)

Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe und sprach:
Sehet, wir gehn hinauf gen Jerusalem,
und es wird alles vollendet werden,
das geschrieben ist
von des Menschen Sohn.
Sie aber vernahmen der keines
und wussten nicht,
was das gesaget war.

2. Arie (Alt)

Mein Jesu, ziehe mich nach dir,
ich bin bereit, ich will von hier
und nach Jerusalem zu deinen Leiden gehn.
Wohl mir, wenn ich die Wichtigkeit
von dieser Leid- und Sterbenszeit
zu meinem Troste kann
durchgehends wohl verstehn!

3. Rezitativ (Bass)

Mein Jesu, ziehe mich, so werd ich laufen,
denn Fleisch und Blut verstehet
ganz und gar, nebst deinen Jüngern nicht,
was das gesaget war.
Es sehnt sich nach der Welt
und nach dem grössten Haufen;
sie wollen beiderseits,
wenn du verkläret bist,
zwar eine feste Burg auf Tabos Berge bauen;
hingegen Golgatha, so voller Leiden ist,
in deiner Niedrigkeit mit keinem Auge schauen.
Ach! kreuzige bei mir
in der verderbten Brust
zuvörderst diese Welt
und die verbotne Lust,
so werd ich, was du sagst,
vollkommen wohl verstehen
und nach Jerusalem mit tausend Freuden gehen.

4. Arie (Tenor)

Mein alles in allem, mein ewiges Gut,
verbessre das Herze, verändre den Mut;
schlag alles darnieder,
was dieser Entsagung des Fleisches zuwider!
Doch wenn ich nun geistlich ertötet da bin,
So ziehe mich nach dir in Friede dahin!

5. Choral 

Ertöt uns durch dein Güte,
erweck uns durch dein Gnad;
den alten Menschen kränke,
dass der neu' leben mag.
Wohl hie auf dieser Erden,
den Sinn und all Begehren
Und G'danken hab'n zu dir.


Translation

1. Arioso

Jesus took unto Him the twelve, and said
unto them: 
Behold we go up to Jerusalem,
and all things that are written by the prophets
concerning the Son of Man shall be
accomplished. And they understood none
of these things, neither knew they the
things which were spoken.

2. Aria 

My Jesus, draw me unto Thee,
I am prepared, and will from hence
to Jerusalem, to Thy passion.
Happy me,
if I can wholly understand the importance
of this time of death
and pain for my own comfort!

3. Recitative 

My Jesus, draw me on, and I shall come,
for flesh and blood cannot comprehend at all,
like Thy disciples,
the words Thou didst utter.
Men yearn for the world and the company
of the multitude;
they desire,
when Thou art transfigured,
to erect a mighty fortress on Tabor’s mountain,
but not to gaze on Golgotha,
so full of the suffering of Thy lowliness.
Ah, crucify in my corrupted breast,
before all else,
this world
and its forbidden desires,
and I shall wholly
understand Thy words
and journey to Jerusalem
with a thousand joys.

4. Aria

My all in all, my eternal treasure,
reform my heart,
transform my courage,
strike down everything
that resists this denial of the flesh!
But when I am mortified in spirit,
then draw me to Thee in peace!

5. Chorale

Mortify us through Thy goodness,
awaken us through Thy grace;
chasten in us the old man,
that the new may live
here upon this earth,
turning his mind and desires
and his thoughts to Thee.

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