All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir

BWV 29 performed by the Netherlands Bach Society conducted by Jos van Veldhoven

"This aria is written in my absolute favourite rhythm: a siciliano" - soprano Maria Keohane on 'Gedenk an uns mit deiner Liebe'

The opening sinfonia is based on Bach's third violin partita. Organist Leo van Doeselaar and violinist Shunske Sato compare the two works.

"Bach wrote this cantata for the inauguration of the new City Council. It mattered to him that it should be a very special cantata"

High school cutting and pasting

Bach made ingenious use of compositions he had written earlier, blending them with new additions to form a perfect unity.

Around a quarter of cantata BWV 29 consists of notes Bach had written earlier. The festive sinfonia comes from a wedding cantata presumed to have been written in 1729. The organ ‘tune’, nowadays better known as the ‘Nokia tune’, is much older. Bach composed this melody in Köthen in 1720, as a piece for solo violin.

The opening chorus ‘Wir danken dir, Gott’ is also better known in another guise, namely as the ‘Gratias’ and the ‘Dona nobis pacem’ from the Mass in B minor. The version in this cantata is older, and because the melody does not really seem to be designed for the words of psalm 75, it is thought there was an even earlier version with different text. However, the old-style setting does make a perfect match for the message of the psalm text. More and more people lend their support, and the gratitude swells. At the end, three trumpets and drums join in with four choir voices, creating a seven-voice whole - the number of fullness.

There is a big contrast between the ‘Wir danken dir, Gott’ in old style and the baroque, concertante opening piece. Yet Bach creates a strong unity with the parts he added. Around the soprano aria ‘Gedenk an uns in deiner Liebe’ in the middle of the cantata, he put two recitatives and two arias. The arias have the same text, ‘Halleluja, Stärk und Macht’, and the second one for alto is a sort of concentrated version of the first one for tenor. The cantata then ends with a solemn chorale setting that - partly through the trumpets and drums - links up again with the ‘Wir danken dir, Gott’. 


Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir





inauguration of the town council (Ratswahl)

First performance
27 August 1731

Special notes
The opening sinfonia is based on BWV 1006 and BWV 120a. The first chorus is based on a lost choral part, which Bach later used in his Mass in B minor.

Cast & Crew

release date 1 August 2014
recording date 15 March 2014
Location St. Martin's Church, Groningen
Conductor Jos van Veldhoven
Soprano Maria Keohane
Alto Damien Guillon
Tenor Valerio Contaldo
Bass Lionel Meunier
Organ Leo van Doeselaar
choir soprano Marjon Strijk, Hilde Van Ruymbeke, Klaartje van Veldhoven, Orlanda Velez Isidro
choir alto Victoria Cassano MCDonald, Barnabás Hegyi, Saskia Kruysse, Elena Pozhidaeva
choir tenor Robert Buckland, Diederik Rooker, Ronald Threels, Endrik Üksvärav
choir bass Jelle Draijer, Pierre-Guy le Gall White, Martijn de Graaf Bierbrauwer, Lionel Meunier
Violin 1 Shunske Sato, Pieter Affourtit, Annelies van der Vegt
violin 2 sayuri Yamagata, Anneke van Haaften, Paulien Kostense
viola Staas Swierstra, Femke Huizinga
cello Albert Brüggen, Richte van der Meer
Double bass Robert Franenberg
oboe Martin Stadler, Peter Frankenberg
bassoon Benny Aghassi
Trumpet Robert Vanryne, Mark Geelen, Fruzsina Hara
timpani Peppie Wiersma
harpsichord Siebe Henstra
CONCERT production Marco Meijdam, Imke Deters
Producer Frank van der Weij
Film directors Lucas van Woerkum, Joost Honselaar
CAMERA Sal Kroonenberg, Robert Berger, Ruben van den Broeke, Benjamin Sparschuh, Indy Hamid
FILM EDITORS Lucas van Woerkum, Frank van der Weij
GAFFER Alban Riphagen
Best boy Sam Dupon
producion assistant Zoë de Wilde
Score reader Jan Van den Bossche
MAKE UP Jamila el Bouch, Marloes Bovenlander, Marloes de Jong
MUSIC RECORDING ASSISTANTS Jaap Firet, Gilius Kreiken, Jaap van Stenis
MUSIC EDIT and MIX Leo de Klerk, Frank van der Weij
MUSIC EDIT and MIX asSSISTANT Martijn Snoeren
Colorist Martijn de Haas
interviews Onno van Ameijde
Acknowledgements Jan Haak

Vocal Texts


1. Sinfonia

2. Chor

Wir danken dir, Gott,
wir danken dir
und verkündigen
deine Wunder.

3. Arie (Tenor)

Halleluja, Stärk und Macht
sei des Allerhöchsten Namen!
Zion ist noch seine Stadt,
da er seine Wohnung hat,
da er noch bei unserm Samen
an der Väter Bund gedacht.

4. Rezitativ (Bass)

Gottlob! Es geht uns wohl!
Gott ist noch unsre Zuversicht,
sein Schutz, sein Trost und Licht
beschirmt die Stadt und die Paläste,
sein Flügel hält die Mauern feste.
Er lässt uns allerorten segnen,
der Treue, die den Frieden küsst,
muss für und für
Gerechtigkeit begegnen.
Wo ist ein solches Volk wie wir,
dem Gott so nah und gnädig ist!

5. Arie (Sopran)

Gedenk an uns mit deiner Liebe,
schleuss uns in dein Erbarmen ein!
Segne die, so uns regieren,
Die uns leiten, schützen, führen,
segne, die gehorsam sein!

6. Rezitativ (Alt, Chor)

Vergiss es ferner nicht,
mit deiner Hand
uns Gutes zu erweisen;
so soll
dich unsre Stadt und unser Land,
das deiner Ehre voll,
mit Opfern und mit Danken preisen,
und alles Volk soll sagen:

7. Arie (Alt)

Halleluja, Stärk und Macht
sei des Allerhöchsten Namen!

8. Choral

Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren
Gott Vater, Sohn, Heiligem Geist!
Der woll in uns vermehren,
was er uns aus Gnaden verheisst,
dass wir ihm fest vertrauen,
gänzlich verlassn auf ihn,
von Herzen auf ihn bauen,
dass unsr Herz, Mut und Sinn
ihm tröstlich solln anhangen;
drauf singen wir zur Stund:
amen, wir werden's erlangen,
glaubn wir aus Herzens Grund.


1. Sinfonia 

2. Chorus 

Unto thee, O God, 
do we give thanks, 
unto thee do we give thanks 
and thy wondrous works declare. 

3. Aria 

Alleluia, strength and power 
be unto the name of the Almighty! 
Zion is still his city, 
where he makes his dwelling, 
where he still, together with our progeny, 
reflects upon our fathers’ covenant. 

4. Recitative 

Praise God! Things are going well for us! 
In God we still place our trust, 
his protection, his comfort and light 
shelter the city and the palaces, 
his wing holds fast the walls. 
He gives us blessing everywhere, 
the faith that kisses peace 
must forever 
be met by justice. 
Where is there another people like us, 
to whom God is so close and merciful? 

5. Aria 

Think of us with your love, 
enclose us within your compassion! 
Bless those who govern us, 
who guide us, protect us, lead us, 
bless those who are obedient. 

6. Recitative 

Henceforth do not forget 
to show us good things by your hand. 
Thus shall 
our city and our country, 
that is full of your honour, 
praise you with offerings and with gratitude. 
And all the people shall say: 

7. Aria 

Alleluia, strength and power 
be unto the name of the Almighty! 

8. Chorale 

May praise and adoration with honour 
be unto God the Father, 
Son and Holy Ghost! 
He will multiply within us 
That which he has promised us 
through his mercy, 
so that we trust in him firmly, 
rely entirely upon him, 
build upon him from the heart, 
so that our heart, spirit and mind 
may support him in comfort 
therefore we are now singing: 
Amen, we shall achieve it, 
if we believe from the bottom of our hearts.


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