BWV 50

All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft

BWV 50 performed by the Netherlands Bach Society conducted by Jos van Veldhoven
St. Martin's Church Groningen

"It's doubtful whether we should call BWV 50 a cantata."

Dizzying network

Although we know little about the origins of this choral work, Bach gives us vocal fireworks from beginning to end.

There are more unknowns about Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft than knowns. Is it a separate piece or was it part of something else? For what occasion did Bach write it? Is the eight-voice version actually by Bach or did somebody else arrange Bach’s original version for double choir?

There is doubt about the authenticity of the standard version with eight vocal parts divided over two choirs. Some experts believe that the double choir element was added by someone else later on, after which Bach’s original version was lost. This original has been reconstructed by various musicologists.  This is the reconstruction by Jan Kleinbussink:

Reconstruction BWV 50 by Jan Kleinbussink (4:04)

The occasion of the work is not clear either. The words correspond well to the Feast of St Michael or Michaelmas. In heaven, according to the Book of Revelations, the archangel Michael and his troops of angels conquered the devil disguised as a dragon. Evil was thus cast back down to earth from heaven. So this feast day celebrates the belief that good will conquer evil.

Neither is it clear whether the piece is an independent whole or rather the opening or closing section of a lost cantata. What is certain is that Bach gives us vocal fireworks from beginning to end. In the two sections of equal length, the ascending theme with the audible key words ‘Macht’ and ‘Gott’ is continually repeated (once in descending mirror image), while the other voices add virtuoso countermelodies. It is only towards the end of each half that the structure becomes temporarily a little looser. The result is a dizzying network of musical lines, as if thousands of souls are joining together in exuberant praise of God.


BWV
50

Title
Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft

genre
(part of a) cantata?

year
unknown

city
Leipzig?

Lyricist
lyrics derived from Revelations 12:10

Occasion
Michaelmas? (29 September)

First performance
unknown

Special notes
There is doubt about the authenticity of the standard version with eight vocal parts divided over two choirs. Some experts believe that the double choir element was added by someone else later on.

Cast & Crew

release date 3 October 2014
recording date 5 October 2013
Location St. Martin's Church, Groningen
conductor Jos van Veldhoven
Soprano Maria Keohane
Alto Maarten Engeltjes
Tenor Benjamin Hulett
Bass Christian Immler
choir soprano Monica de Jesus Monteiro, Hilde Van Ruymbeke, Klaartje van Veldhoven, Orlanda Velez Isidro
choir alto Victoria Cassano McDonald, Gemma Jansen, Saskia Kruysse, Elena Pozhidaeva
choir tenor Yves van Handenhove, Diederik Rooker, Kevin Skelton, Ronald Threels
choir bass Donald Bentvelsen, Jelle Draijer, Michiel Meijer, Frank Hermans
violin 1 Shunske Sato, Lidewij van der Voort, Hanneke Wierenga
violin 2 Pieter Affourtit, Anneke van Haaften, Paulien Kostense
viola Deirdre Dowling, Jan Willem Vis
Cello Lucia Swarts, Barbara Kernig
double bass Joshua Cheatham
oboe Martin Stadler, Peter Frankenberg, Sarah Aßmann
bassoon Benny Aghassi
trumpet Robert Vanryne, Mark Geelen, Michael Harrison
timpani Luuk Nagtegaal
harpsichord Siebe Henstra
church organ Leo van Doeselaar
ORGAN REGISTRATION Tim Knigge
CONCERT production Imke Deters, Marco Meijdam
Producer Frank van der Weij
Film director Lucas van Woerkum
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Sal Kroonenberg
CAMERA Robert Berger, Jorrit Garretsen, Sal Kroonenberg
FILM EDITORS Lucas van Woerkum, Frank van der Weij
MUSIC RECORDING PRODUCER Leo de Klerk
GAFFER Alban Riphagen
producion assistant Zoë de Wilde
Score reader Jan Van den Bossche
MAKE UP Marloes Bovenlander, Jamila el Bouch, Emine Camadan
CAMERA ASSISTaNT Chris Tjong Ayong
MUSIC PRODUCER'S ASSISTANT Mieneke van der Velden
MUSIC RECORDING ASSISTANTS Jaap van Stenis, Gilius Kreiken
MUSIC EDIT AND MIX Leo de Klerk, Frank van der Weij
MUSIC EDIT aNd MIX ASSSISTANT Martijn Snoeren
Colorist Jef Grosfeld
interview Onno van Ameijde
Acknowledgements Jan Haak

Vocal Texts

Original

1. Chor

Nun ist das Heil
und die Kraft
und das Reich
und die Macht
unser Gottes
seines Christus worden,
weil der verworfen ist,
der sie verklagete
Tag und Nacht vor Gott.

Translation

1. Chorus 

Now is come salvation 
and strength, 
and the kingdom 
of our God, 
and the power 
of His Christ: 
for the accuser of our brethren is cast 
down, which accused them 
before our God day and night.

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