BWV 21 Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis

Third Sunday after Trinity and For any occasion.(1)
Salomo Franck.(2)

2. Ps. 94:19; 6. Ps. 42:12; 9. Ps. 116:7 and Georg Neumark, verses 2 and 5 of "Wer nur den lieben
Gott läßt walten," 1657 (Fischer-Tümpel, IV, #365); 11. Rev. 5:12-13.

Probably 17 June 1714, Weimar; other performances: ?1720, Hamburg? (See Dürr, p. 344),
13 June 1723, Leipzig (revised).

BG 5, 1; NBA I/16.



First Part

1. Sinfonia

2. Chorus [Dictum] (S, A, T, B)

I had so much distress and woe within my bosom; but still thy consoling restoreth all my spirit.

3. Aria (S)

Sighing, crying, sorrow, need,
Anxious yearning, fear and death
Gnaw at this my anguished heart,
I am filled with grieving, hurt.

4. Recit. (T)

Why hast thou, O my God,
In my distress,
In my great fear and anguish
Then turned away from me?
Ah! Know'st thou not thy child?
Ah! Hear'st thou not the wailing
Of those who are to thee
In bond and faith allied?
Thou wast once my delight
And to me art now cruel;
I search for thee in ev'ry region,
I call and cry to thee,
But still my "Woe and Ah"
Seems now by thee completely unperceived.

5. Aria (T)

Streams of salty tears are welling,
Floods are rushing ever forth.

    Storm and waters overwhelm me,
    And this sorrow-laden sea
    Would my life and spirit weaken,
    Mast and anchor are near broken,
    Here I sink into the depths,
    There peer in the jaws of hell.

6. Chorus [Dictum] (S, A, T, B)

Why art thou distressed, O my spirit, and art so unquiet in me? Trust firm in God; for I even yet shall thank him, that he of my countenance the comfort and my God is.

Second Part

7. Recit. (S, B) Soul and Jesus

(Soul)
Ah Jesus, my repose,
My light, where bidest thou

(Jesus)
O Soul, behold! I am with thee.

(Soul)
With me?
But here is nought but night.

(Jesus)
I am thy faithful friend,
Who e'en in darkness guards,
Where nought but fiends are found.

(Soul)
Break through then with thy beam and light of comfort here.

(Jesus)
The hour draweth nigh
In which thy battle's crown
Shall thee a sweet refreshment bring.

8. Aria (S, B) Soul, Jesus

(Soul and Jesus)
Come, my Jesus,
{ } with refreshment
Yes, I'm coming
And delight in thine appearing
{                     }
For thee in my grace appearing.
This my
{      } spirit,
This thy
       perish
Which shall {        }
           flourish
           flourish
And not {     }
        perish
And in its misfortune's
{                  } cavern
Here from its afflictions'
Go to ruin.
{       }
Shalt thou merit
I must e'er in sorrow hover,
{                     }
Healing through the grapes' sweet flavor.
Yes, ah yes, I am forsaken!
{                     }
No, ah no, thou hast been chosen!
No, ah no, thou hatest me!
{                     }
Yes, ah yes, I cherish thee!
Ah, Jesus, now sweeten my spirit and bosom!
{                                    }
Give way, all ye troubles, and vanish, thou sorrow!

9. Chorus [Dictum] and Chorale (S, A, T, B)

Be now once more contented, O my spirit, for the Lord serves thee well.
What use to us this heavy sorrow,
What use all this our "Woe and Ah?"
What use that we should ev'ry morning
Heap sighs upon our sore distress?
We only make our cross and pain
Grow greater through our discontent.

Think not within the heat of hardship
That thou by God forsaken art,
And that he rests within God's bosom
Who doth on constant fortune feed.
Pursuing time transformeth much
And gives to ev'rything its end.

10. Aria (T)

Be glad, O my spirit, be glad, O my bosom,
Give way now, O trouble, and vanish, thou sorrow.
Transform thyself, weeping, to nothing but wine,
For now shall my sobbing pure triumph become!(3)
Now burneth and flameth most purely the candle
Of love and of hope in my soul and my heart,
For Jesus consoles me with heavenly joy.

11. Chorus [Dictum] (S, A, T, B)

The lamb that is slaughtered now is worthy to have all might and riches and wisdom and power and honor and praise and fame.
Fame and honor and praise and great might be to our God from evermore to evermore. Amen, alleluia!(4)


1. On the envelope of the autograph score is written Per ogni Tempo.

2. For the text of this cantata see H. Werthemann, BJ (1965). For its parallels
with the rhetorical features of BWV 12 and Salomo Franck's style in general, see Ambrose, BJ (1980).

3. For the text of this cantata see H. Werthemann, BJ (1965). For its parallels
with the rhetorical features of BWV 12 and Salomo Franck's style in general, see Ambrose, BJ (1980).

4. "Amen, alleluja!" is added, perhaps through the influence of Rev. 5:15.


© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose


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