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Bach: Jesu, meine Freude, BWV 227 (Mvt. I, II, III)

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Uploaded on Jul 29, 2007

Johann Sebastian Bach

Jesu, meine Freude, BWV 227
(Motet No. 3 in E minor)


(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

"Jesu, meine Freude" is a motet composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. The full title of the
work is Motet No. 3 in E minor, BWV 227.

The Work

There are six authenticated funeral motets (BWV 225-230) written for St Thomas's Church, Leipzig between 1723-1727. A seventh has only recently been subjected to some scholarly doubt as to its authorship. This third is the earliest, longest, most musically complex and justifiably the most popular of the six, and was written in Leipzig in 1723 for the funeral (on 18 July 1723) of Johanna Maria Käsin, the wife of that city's postmaster. The 5th voice of the chorus is a second soprano part of harmonic richness, adding considerably to the tonal palette of the work as a whole.

The chorale melody on which it is based, was by Johann Crüger (1653), and first appeared in his Praxis pietatis melica. The German text is by Johann Franck, and dates from c. 1650. The words of the movement nos. 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 are based on the Epistle to the Romans 8:1-2, 9-11. The scriptures here speak of Jesus Christ freeing man from sin and death. The chorale text is from the believer's point of view and praises the gifts of Jesus Christ as well as longing for his comforting spirit. It also abounds with stark contrasts between images of heaven and hell, often within a single section. Bach's vivid setting of the words heightens these dramatic contrasts resulting in a motet with an uncommonly wide dramatic range.


German Text:

Jesu, meine Freude,
Meines Herzens Weide,
Jesu, meine Zier,
Ach wie lang, ach lange
Ist dem Herzen bange
Und verlangt nach dir!
Gottes Lamm, mein Bräutigam,
Außer dir soll mir auf Erden
Nichts sonst Liebers werden.

Es ist nun nichts
Verdammliches an denen,
die in Christo Jesu sind,
die nicht nach dem Fleische wandeln,
sondern nach dem Geist.
(Romans 8, V. 1)


Unter deinem Schirmen
Bin ich vor den Stürmen
Aller Feinde frei.
Laß den Satan wittern,
Laß den Feind erbittern,
Mir steht Jesus bei.
Ob es itzt gleich kracht und blitzt,
Ob gleich Sünd und Hölle schrecken:
Jesus will mich decken.

English Translation:

Jesus, my joy,
pasture of my heart,
Jesus, my adornment
ah how long, how long
is my heart filled with anxiety
and longing for you!
Lamb of God, my bridegroom,
apart from you on the earth
there is nothing dearer to me.

There is therefore now no
condemnation to them
who are in Christ Jesus,
who wander not after the flesh,
but after the Spirit.
(Romans 8, V. 1)

Beneath your protection
I am free from the attacks
of all my enemies.
Let Satan track me down,
let my enemy be exasperated --
Jesus stands by me.
Even if there is thunder and lightning,
even if sin and hell spread terror
Jesus will protect me .

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