BWV 77 Du sollt Gott, deinen Herren, lieben

Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity.

Johann Oswald Knauer, Gott-geheiligtes Singen und Spielen des Friedensteinischen Zions (Gotha, 1720); Facs: BJ (1981), p. 22; Bach uses only the second half of the cantata and makes several substantial changes.

1. Lk. 10:27 and the chorale melody "Dies sind die heilgen zehn Gebot"(1) ; 6. Chorale without text, for which Neumann T suggests verse 8 of David Denicke, "O Gottes Sohn, Herr Jesus Christ," 1657 (Fischer-Tümpel, II, #438); BG follows Zelter's suggestion: verse 8 of David Denicke, "Wenn einer alle Ding verstünd," 1657 (Fischer-Tümpel, II, #436); the chorale melody is "Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein" (cf. BWV 2/1).

22 August 1723.

BG 18; NBA I/21, 3.


1. Chorus [Dictum] (S, A, T, B) with instr. chorale

Thou shalt thy God and master cherish with all thy bosom, with all thy spirit, with all thy power and with all thine affection, as well thy neighbor as thyself.(2)

2. Recit. (B)

So must it be!
God would our hearts himself possess completely.
We must the Lord with all our spirit
Elect as he requireth,
And never be content
But when he doth our spirits
Through his own Spirit fire,
For we, of all his grace and kindness,
Are only then completely sure.

3. Aria (S)

My God, with all my heart I love thee,
And all my life depends on thee.
But help me thy great law to fathom
And with love to be so kindled
That I thee evermore may love.

4. Recit. (T)

Make me as well, my God, Samaritan in heart
That I may both my neighbor cherish
And be amidst his pain
For his sake also troubled,
That I may never merely pass him by
And him to his distress abandon.
Make me to self-concern contrary,
For then thou shalt one day the life of gladness
That I desire in thy dear mercy grant me.

5. Aria (A)

Ah, there bideth in my loving
Nought but imperfection still!
Though I often may be willing
God's commandments to accomplish,
'Tis beyond my power yet.

6. Chorale (S, A, T, B)

Lord, through my faith come dwell in me,
Make it grow ever stronger,
That it be fruitful more and more
And rich in righteous labors;
That it be active in my love,
In gladness and forbearance skilled,
My neighbor ever serving.(3)
Lord Jesus, thou dost make thyself
A model of true loving:
Now grant that I may follow this
And love of neighbor practise,
That I, in ev'ry way I can,
Love, trust, and help to ev'ryone,
As I should wish, may offer.(4)


1. Knauer's cantata used the final verse of this chorale by Martin Luther (Wackernagel, III, #22) as the final chorale. For a full account of Bach's treatment of Knauer's cantatas see H. K. Krausse, BJ (1981), pp. 7-22.

2. The graceful simplicity of the traditional wording from Lk. 10:27 is not allowed by the syllabic requirements of the original:

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself."

3. The Denicke text suggested by Neumann T.

4. The Denicke text suggested by BG.


© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose


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