All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Darzu ist erschienen der Sohn Gottes

BWV 40 performed by the Netherlands Bach Society
conducted by Hans-Christoph Rademann
Grote Kerk, Harlingen

A fighting serpent, the clucking of chickens and many more symbolism in this Christmas cantata.

Heroic horns

The birth of Christ is celebrated with a triumphant flourish.

Two horns enter heroically in Darzu ist erschienen der Sohn Gottes: the Son of God has appeared and conquered the devil. The triumphant flourish is reminiscent of the equally joyful trumpets in the first cantata of the Christmas Oratorio. The choir enter in unison, followed by a fugue, and then the piece ends homophonically again.
Bach clearly wanted to make an impression at his first Christmas time as cantor in Leipzig. In the tenor’s recitative, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. You then hear how brightly the light shines in an elated upward line of semiquavers. The victorious Christ of this cantata is closer to the regal figure of the St John Passion than the hesitant Jesus of the St Matthew Passion. The humble chorale that follows the recitative makes reference to evil being defeated. And the short bass aria, in which the infernal serpent is taught a lesson, is absolutely triumphant. “You hear this devilish serpent slithering through the score as a chain of semiquavers. This is a case of theological exaggeration; it is a huge serpent! Although evil is conquered in the recitative that follows, a little temptation remains nonetheless”, says conductor Hans-Christoph Rademann.
The horns make a heroic return in the tenor aria, in which the singer’s drawn-out syllables joyfully decorate the runs of the wind instruments. Take note, too, of the expressive final upward movement of the closing chorale: Jesus is on earth, our gaze is turned towards the sun in the heavens.


BWV
40

Title
Darzu ist erschienen der Sohn Gottes

Genre
cantata

Year
1723

City
Leipzig

Tekstdichter
unknown

Occasion
Boxing Day

First Performance
26 December 1723

Special notes
Bach later reworked the opening chorus into the ‘Cum sancto spiritu’ of his Mass in F major, BWV 233.

Cast & Crew

Recording Date 23 January 2016
Release Date 21 December 2018
Location Grote Kerk, Harlingen
Conductor Hans-Christoph Rademann
Alto Barnabás Hegyi
Tenor Daniel Johannsen
Bass Matthew Brook
Ripieno Soprano Zsuzsi Tóth, Lauren Armishaw, Lucie Chartin
Ripieno alto Elsbeth Gerritsen, Bart Uvyn
Ripieno Tenor Immo Schröder, Kevin Skelton
Ripieno bass Sebastian Myrus, Drew Santini
Violin 1 Sayuri Yamagata, Anneke van Haaften, Annelies van der Vegt
Violin 2 Pieter Affourtit, Hanneke Wierenga, Lidewij van der Voort
Viola Staas Swierstra, Jan Willem Vis
Cello Lucia Swarts, Richte van der Meer
Double Bass Robert Franenberg
Oboe Martin Stadler, Peter Frankenberg
Bassoon Benny Aghassi
Horn Erwin Wieringa, Gijs Laceulle
Organ Bart Naessens
Harpsichord Siebe Henstra
Director Simon Aarden
Music recording Guido Tichelman, Bastiaan Kuijt, Micha de Kanter
Music edit and mix Guido Tichelman
Camera Bart ten Harkel, Thijs Struick, Chris Reichgelt
Lights Daan de Boer, Arjen Seykens
Assistant director Ferenc Soetman
Video engineer Vincent Nugteren
Set technique Martin Struijf, Glenn van den Eerden, Marco Korzelius
Data handling Jasper Blok
Project manager NEP Peter Ribbens
Interview Gijs Besseling, Jan Van den Bossche
Producer concert Marco Meijdam
Productie film Jessie Verbrugh

Vocal Texts

Original

1. Chor

Dazu ist erschienen der Sohn Gottes,
dass er die Werke des Teufels zerstöre.


2. Rezitativ (Tenor)

Das Wort ward Fleisch
und wohnet in der Welt,
das Licht der Welt bestrahlt
den Kreis der Erden,
der große Gottessohn
verlässt des Himmels Thron,
und seiner Majestät gefällt,
ein kleines Menschenkind zu werden.
Bedenkt doch diesen Tausch,
wer nur gedenken kann;
der König wird ein Untertan,
der Herr erscheinet als ein Knecht
und wird dem menschlichen Geschlecht
– o süßes Wort in aller Ohren! –
zu Trost und Heil geboren.

3. Choral

Die Sünd macht Leid;
Christus bringt Freud,
weil er zu Trost in diese Welt ist kommen.
Mit uns ist Gott
nun in der Not:
Wer ist, der uns als Christen kann verdammen?

4. Arie (Bass)

Höllische Schlange,
wird dir nicht bange?
Der dir den Kopf als ein Sieger zerknickt,
ist nun geboren,
und die verloren,
werden mit ewigem Frieden beglückt.

5. Rezitativ (Alt)

Die Schlange, so im Paradies
auf alle Adamskinder
das Gift der Seelen fallen ließ,
bringt uns nicht mehr Gefahr;
des Weibes Samen stellt sich dar,
der Heiland ist ins Fleisch gekommen
und hat ihr alles Gift benommen.
Drum sei getrost, betrübter Sünder!

6. Choral

Schüttle deinen Kopf und sprich:
Fleuch, du alte Schlange!
Was erneur’st du deinen Stich,
machst mir angst und bange?
Ist dir doch der Kopf zerknickt,
und ich bin durchs Leiden
meines Heilands dir entrückt
in den Saal der Freuden.

7. Arie (Tenor)

Christenkinder, freuet euch!
Wütet schon das Höllenreich,
will euch Satans Grimm erschrecken:
Jesus, der erretten kann,
nimmt sich seiner Küchlein an
und will sie mit Flügeln decken.

8. Choral

Jesu, nimm dich deiner Glieder
ferner in Genaden an;
schenke, was man bitten kann,
zu erquicken deine Brüder:
Gib der ganzen Christenschar
Frieden und ein sel’ges Jahr!
Freude, Freude über Freude!
Christus wehret allem Leide.
Wonne, Wonne über Wonne!
Er ist die Genadensonne.

Translation

1. Chorus

For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.

2. Recitative

The Word was made flesh and dwells in the world,
the light of the world irradiates the globe,

the mighty Son of God
leaves the throne of heaven,
and it pleases His majesty
to become a little creature.
Give thought to this exchange, all who can think:
the King becomes a subject,
the Lord appears as a servant
and is born for this race of man
– O sweet word in all men’s ears –
to heal and comfort.

3. Chorale

Sin brings sorrow;
Christ brings joy,
for He has entered this world to console.
God is with us
now in our need:
who could condemn us now we are Christians?

4. Aria

Hellish serpent
do you not grow frightened?
The victor who shall crush your head
is now born
and all the fallen
shall be favoured with eternal peace.

5. Recitative

The serpent that in paradise
made fall on all of Adam’s children
the venom of souls
no longer endangers us;
woman’s seed is made manifest,
the Saviour has appeared in flesh
and has removed all venom.
Take comfort then, O troubled sinner.

6. Chorale

Shake your head and say:
Flee, you ancient serpent!
Why renew your sting
for my fear and anguish?
After all, your head is dashed,
and I, through the Passion
of my Saviour, have fled from you
into the hall of gladness.

7. Aria

Christian children, now rejoice!
Though hell’s domain now rages,
though Satan’s fury would frighten you:
Jesus, who can save,
will gather His chickens
under His wing.

8. Chorale

Jesus, continue to look after
Thy members with loving grace;
give, whatever we ask,
to revive Thy brethren:
give to all the Christian throng
peace and a blessèd year!
Joy, joy, unending joy!
Christ shall ward off all sorrow.
Bliss, bliss, unending bliss!
He is the sun of grace.

Print

You might also like these works