All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen

BWV 65 performed by the Netherlands Bach Society conducted by Hans-Christoph Rademann
Grote Kerk, Harlingen

"In the first chorale Bach manages to create such an intimate atmosphere, that you feel you are present around the manger with the kings."

An Eastern touch

Bach appears to revel in exotic sounds.

The three magi came from distant parts. They travelled from the East (Saba or Sheba was probably located somewhere in present-day Yemen) to Bethlehem in order to see the newborn Jesus. Bach illustrated their exotic origins with ‘oriental’ sounds. He opted for a varied instrumental setting, including strings, horns, recorders and oboes da caccia. “It’s very beautifully done”, says conductor Hans-Christoph Rademann. “The mix of sounds in the instrumental introduction is like a wonderful organ. Voice by voice, in canon, the different choir parts then enter in a rising line. Bach thus creates the image of the curious bystanders coming together to behold the exotic visitors”.

Bach rounded off his first Christmas cycle in Leipzig with this composition. He appears to revel in the exotic sounds, with the whole orchestra resounding in unison now and then in the opening procession. When the swaying bars in 12/8 time, representing the caravan, come to a halt, the music zooms in on the plain stable where Jesus lies. And the ball is once again in the court of the Lutherans. Although we have no exotic gifts like myrrh and gold to offer, we can give our souls to Jesus. In the aria sung by the bass, where this message is expressed, the two oboes da caccia seem to create more of a pastoral than an exotic atmosphere.


BWV
65

Title
Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen

Genre
cantata

Year
1724

City
Leipzig

Lyricist
unknown

Occasion
Epiphany

First Performance
6 January 1724

Cast & Crew

Recording Date 23 January 2016
Release Date 6 January 2017
Location Grote Kerk, Harlingen
Conductor Hans-Christoph Rademann
Tenor Daniel Johannsen
Bass Matthew Brook
Ripieno Soprano Lauren Armishaw, Lucie Chartin, Zsuzsi Toth
Ripieno alto Elsbeth Gerritsen, Bart Uvyn, Barnabas Hegyi
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 da caccia Martin Stadler, Peter Frankenberg
Recorder Benny Aghassi, Lara Morris
Horn Erwin Wieringa, Gijs Laceulle
Bassoon Benny Aghassy
Organ Bart Naessens
Harpsichord Siebe Henstra
Director Simon Aarden
Assistant director Ferenc Soetman
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
Video engeneer Vincent Nugteren
Set technique Martin Struijf, Glenn van den Eerden, Marco Korzelius
Data handling Jasper Blok
Project manager NEP Peter Ribbens
Producer film Marco Meijdam
Producer concert Imke Deters
Interview Onno van Ameijde

Vocal Texts

Original

1. Chor (Concerto)

Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen,
Gold und Weihrauch bringen,
und des Herren Lob verkündigen.


2. Choral

Die Kön’ge aus Saba kamen dar,
Gold, Weihrauch, Myrrhen brachten sie dar,
Halleluja!

3. Rezitativ (Bass)

Was dort Jesaias vorhergesehn,
das ist zu Bethlehem geschehn.
Hier stellen sich die Weisen
bei Jesu Krippe ein
und wollen ihn als ihren König preisen.
Gold, Weihrauch, Myrrhen sind
die köstlichen Geschenke,
womit sie dieses Jesuskind
zu Bethlehem im Stall beehren.
Mein Jesu, wenn ich jetzt
an meine Pflicht gedenke,
muss ich mich auch zu deiner Krippe kehren
und gleichfalls dankbar sein:
Denn dieser Tag ist mir ein Tag der Freuden,
da du, o Lebensfürst,
das Licht der Heiden
und ihr Erlöser wirst.
Was aber bring ich wohl, du Himmelskönig?
Ist dir mein Herze nicht zu wenig,

so nimm es gnädig an,
weil ich nichts Edlers bringen kann.

4. Arie (Bass)

Gold aus Ophir ist zu schlecht,
weg, nur weg mit eitlen Gaben,
die ihr aus der Erde brecht!

Jesus will das Herze haben.
Schenke dies, o Christenschar,
Jesu zu dem neuen Jahr!


5. Rezitativ (Tenor)

Verschmähe nicht,
du, meiner Seele Licht,
mein Herz, das ich in Demut zu dir bringe;

es schliesst ja
solche Dinge
in sich zugleich mit ein,
die deines Geistes Früchte sein.
Des Glaubens Gold, der Weihrauch des Gebets,
die Myrrhen der Geduld sind meine Gaben,
die sollst du, Jesu, für und für
zum Eigentum und zum Geschenke haben.
Gib aber dich auch selber mir,
so machst du mich zum Reichsten auf der Erden;
denn, hab ich dich, so muss
des größten Reichtums Überfluss
mir dermaleinst im Himmel werden.

6. Arie (Tenor)

Nimm mich dir zu eigen hin,
nimm mein Herze zum Geschenke.
Alles, alles, was ich bin,
was ich rede, tu und denke,
soll, mein Heiland, nur allein
dir zum Dienst gewidmet sein.

7. Choral

Ei nun, mein Gott, so fall ich dir
getrost in deine Hände.
Nimm mich und mach es so mit mir
bis an mein letztes Ende,
wie du wohl weisst, dass meinem Geist
dadurch sein Nutz entstehe,
und deine Ehr je mehr und mehr
sich in ihr selbst erhöhe.

Translation

1. Chorus

All they from Sheba shall come:
they shall bring gold and incense;
and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord.

2. Chorale

The Kings from Sheba came forth,
gold, frankincense, myrrh they brought,

Alleluia!

3. Recitative

What Isaiah there foretold,
at Bethlehem it came to pass.
Here the Wise Men gather
around the crib of Jesus,
and wish to proclaim Him as their king.
Gold, frankincense, myrrh
are the most precious gifts
with which they honour the little Jesus
in the stable at Bethlehem.
My Jesus, if I now recall my duty,

I too must come to Thy crib

and likewise show my thanks:
because this day, for me, is a day of joy,

when Thou, O Prince of Life,
become the heathen’s light
and their Redeemer.
But what shall I bring Thee, King of Heaven?
If Thou dost not deem my heart too little,

accept it with grace,
for I have nothing more noble to bring.

4. Aria

Gold from Ophir is too base,
away, away with vain gifts,
that you tear from the bowels of the earth!

Jesus would have your heart.
Offer this, O Christian throng,
to Jesus at the New Year!


5. Recitative

Do not despise,
O Thou, the light of my soul,
my heart that I humbly bring Thee;

for it contains such things
within it
which are the fruits of Thy spirit.
The gold of faith, the frankincense of prayer,

the myrrh of patience, these are my gifts,
which Thou shalt, Jesus, evermore
have as Thine own, and as a gift from me.
But give Thyself to me as well,
Thou shalt make me the richest man on earth;
for, having Thee, I must inherit
the most abundant wealth
one day in Heaven.

6. Aria

Take me to Thyself as Thine own,
take my heart as a gift.
All and everything I am,
what I speak and do and think,
shall, my Saviour, be offered
to Thy service alone.

7. Chorale

Ah now, my God, I come to Thee
consoled into Thy hands.
Take me and guide me
until my final moment,
as Thou knowest well, that my soul
thereby will be benefitted,
and Thine own honour
be evermore exalted.

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