All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ

BWV 67 performed by the Netherlands Bach Society conducted by Jos van Veldhoven.

Marten Root tells how Bach uses the traverso in his cantatas.

Jos van Veldhoven explains why this cantata was already fairly popular in the early 19th century.

"We really have no idea what this instrument actually was" Robert Vanryne on the 'corno da tirarsi'

A cantata filled with jubilant optimism

Nine days after his first Passion, Bach was already in full swing again.

Bach must have had a difficult time in his first year as cantor in Leipzig. Not only did he want to compose a complete series of new cantatas, but he also wanted to set his hand to a Passion straight away. It is understandable that after the presentation of his St John Passion on Good Friday 1724, there was not much energy left for more tours de force. For his cantatas in the following Easter days, he resorted to making a few changes to existing work. But by Quasimodogeniti, nine days after Easter, Bach was back in full swing again. His cantata ‘Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ’ is a completely new work with a wonderfully optimistic undertone. The work is in seven movements, yet is far from long-winded, and is full of variety, both with regard to vocal and instrumental combinations and to the range of moods. It was also the first time that Bach made use (albeit modestly) of the transverse flute. Along with the two oboes d’amore, the instrument adds colour to the sensitive moments, while the slide trumpet emphasises the festivity in the chorale melodies.

The reading for the first Sunday after Easter is about doubting Thomas. The words of the cantata talk about divine mercy: all those who struggle, yet see the error of their ways, will be shown forgiveness. The large-scale chorus at the beginning celebrates the resurrection of Christ. But then the tenor shows signs of Thomas-like doubt, which run smoothly on into those of the alto. However strongly the central chorale goes on to argue that the redeemer has crushed our enemies, the alto does not admit defeat easily. It is only in the fervent bass aria with chorus, rich in contrast, that a turning point is reached. Jesus himself comes to the aid of the faithful in their clearly audible struggle, with the repeated soothing words ‘Peace be with you’. And in the simple final chorale, peace does indeed return to the hearts of the faithful.


BWV
67

title
Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ

genre
cantata

year
1724

city
Leipzig

Lyricist
unknown

Occasion
First Sunday after Easter (Quasimodogeniti)

First performance
16 April 1724

Special notes
This is the first cantata in which Bach uses a transverse flute. Bach reused the sixth movement in the Gloria of the Mass in A minor, BWV 234.

Cast & Crew

Date 11 October 2014
Location Grote Kerk, Naarden
Conductor Jos van Veldhoven
alto Alex Potter
tenor Thomas Hobbs
bass Peter Kooij
ripieno soprano Lauren Armishaw, Marjon Strijk (solo), Kristen Witmer
ripieno alto Marleene Goldstein, Barnabás Hegyi
ripieno tenor João Moreira, Kevin Skelton
ripieno bass Matthew Baker, Jelle Draijer
VIOLIN 1 Shunske Sato, Anneke van Haaften, Annelies van der Vegt
VIOLIN 2 Sayuri Yamagata, Pieter Affourtit, Paulien Kostense
VIOLA Staas Swierstra, Jan Willem Vis
cello Lucia Swarts, Richte van der Meer
DOUBLE BASS Robert Franenberg
traverso Marten Root
OBOE Martin Stadler, Peter Frankenberg
BASSOON Benny Aghassi
trUmpet Robert Vanryne
HARPSICHORD Siebe Henstra
positive organ Leo van Doeselaar
concert Production Imke Deters, Erik van Lith, Marco Meijdam
ProducERS Zoë de Wilde, Frank van der Weij
FILM DIRECTOR Lucas van Woerkum
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Sal Kroonenberg
CAMERA Sal Kroonenberg, Robert Berger, Ruben van den Broeke, Benjamin Sparschuh
FILM EDITORS Lucas van Woerkum, Frank van der Weij
MUSIC RECORDING PRODUCER Leo de Klerk
GAFFER Zen Bloot
BEST BOYS Roeland van Bemmel, Patrick Galvin
Score reader MaNOj Kamps
MUSIC RECORDING ASSISTANTS Jaap Firet, Gilius Kreiken, Jaap van Stenis, Bobby Verbakel
CAMERA ASSISTaNTS Izak de Dreu, Zino Rosmolen
MUSIC EDIT AND MIX Leo de Klerk, Frank van der Weij
MUSIC EDIT ASSISTANT Martijn Snoeren
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Angela Mast, Marlo Reeders

Vocal Texts

Original

1. Chor

Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ,
der auferstanden ist von den Toten.

2. Arie (Tenor)

Mein Jesus ist erstanden,
allein, was schreckt mich noch?
Mein Glaube kennt des Heilands Sieg,
doch fühlt mein Herze Streit und Krieg,
mein Heil, erscheine doch!

3. Rezitativ (Alto)

Mein Jesu, heissest du des Todes Gift
und eine Pestilenz der Hölle:
ach, dass mich noch
Gefahr und Schrecken trifft!
Du legtest selbst auf unsre Zungen
ein Loblied,
welches wir gesungen:

4. Choral

Erschienen ist der herrlich Tag,
dran sich niemand gnug
freuen mag:
Christ, unser Herr,
heut triumphiert,
all sein Feind er gefangen führt.
Alleluja!

5. Rezitativ (Alto)

Doch scheinet fast,
dass mich der Feinde Rest,
den ich zu gross
und allzu schrecklich finde,
nicht ruhig bleiben lässt.
Doch, wenn du mir
den Sieg erworben hast,
so streite selbst mit mir, mit deinem Kinde.
Ja, ja, wir spüren schon im Glauben,
dass du, o Friedefürst,
dein Wort und Werk an uns erfüllen wirst.

6. Arie (Bass, Chor)

Friede sei mit euch!

Wohl uns! Jesus hilft uns kämpfen
und die Wut der Feinde dämpfen,
Hölle, Satan, weich!

Friede sei mit euch!

Jesus holet uns zum Frieden
und erquicket in uns Müden
Geist und Leib zugleich.

Friede sei mit euch!

O Herr, hilf und lass gelingen,
durch den Tod hindurchzudringen
in dein Ehrenreich!

Friede sei mit euch!

7. Choral

Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ,
wahr' Mensch und wahrer Gott,
ein starker Nothelfer du bist
im Leben und im Tod:
drum wir allein
im Namen dein
zu deinem Vater schreien.

Translation

1. Chorus 

Remember that Jesus Christ 
was raised from the dead. 

2. Aria 

My Jesus is risen, 
but what affrights me still? 
My faith knows the Saviour’s triumph, 
but my heart feels strife and war. 
My Saviour, I beg Thee, appear! 

3. Recitative 

My Jesus, Thou art called the poison of 
death and the plague of Hell: 
ah, that danger 
and terror still afflict me! 
Thou wouldst place on 
our tongues 
a hymn of praise, that we have sung: 

4. Chorale 

The glorious day is come,
 
at which no one can 
rejoice enough:
 
Christ, our Lord, triumphs today,
 
He holds His enemies captive and leads them away. 
Alleluia! 

5. Recitative 

Yet it seems as though
 
the remaining foe,
 
whom I find too 
many and terrible, 
will not leave me in peace. 
But now Thou hast 
gained victory for me, 
fight at my side with Thine own child. 
Yes, our faith already tells us
 
that Thou, O Prince of Peace, 
will fulfil Thy Word and work in us. 

6. Aria and Chorus 

Peace be unto you! 

O joy! Jesus helps us fight 
to subdue the fury of our foe. 
Hell, Satan, be gone! 

Peace be unto you! 

Jesus summons us to peace, 
and restores in us weary ones 
soul and body alike. 

Peace be unto you! 

Help us, Lord, to enter 
through the realm of death 
Thy glorious Kingdom! 

Peace be unto you! 

7. Chorale 

Thou Prince of Peace, Lord Jesus Christ, 
very man and very God, 
Thou art a strong helper in need, 
in life and in death: 
we therefore,
 
in Thy name alone, 
cry unto Thy Father.

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