Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben

Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben

BWV 102 performed by the Netherlands Bach Society
conducted by Jos van Veldhoven
Grote Kerk, Naarden

  • Menu
  • 1. Herr, deine Augen sehen (Chorus)
  • 2. Wo ist das Ebenbild (Recitative)
  • 3. Weh der Seele (Aria)
  • 4. Verachtest du den Reichtum (Arioso)
  • 5. Erschrecke doch (Aria)
  • 6. Beim Warten ist Gefahr (Recitative)
  • 7. Heut lebst du (Chorale)

Behind the music

Extra videos
Extra videos

Caution for stubborn unbelievers

Although there is a gleam of hope in the second movement, Bach does not really play on it

When Bach started composing his third volume of cantatas in 1725, he was thoroughly distracted by his resolve to create a new Passion for the Easter of 1726. From February up to Good Friday, he resorted completely to cantatas by his cousin Johann Ludwig. However, his intended result failed to appear, as a St Mark Passion by Braun was eventually performed at Easter time. Yet for months afterwards, Bach still continued to draw on the work of his cousin, even casting envious looks at Johann Ludwig for the words to his own cantatas. He derived the text for the cantata Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben from a collection of texts attributed to the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, at whose court cousin Bach was Kapellmeister.

The quintessence of the collection is the way the text is constructed of two different biblical quotes; one from the Old Testament, which Bach uses at the beginning, and one from the New Testament, which is used in the middle. The cantata consists of two movements. The first biblical text is followed by a recitative and aria, and the second by an aria and recitative. It closes with a chorale. The impressive opening chorus comes straight to the point: the world is full of stubborn unbelievers, and however hard God punishes them, it does not help. The sermon for this tenth Sunday after Trinity is about the expulsion of the money-changers from the temple and the imminent destruction of Jerusalem. The errant souls are called upon to convert while they still can. Although there is a clear difference between the texts of the Old and New Testaments as far as God’s position is concerned – the implacable, punishing God later becomes mild and peace-giving – it is remarkable that Bach did not really play on this. The atmosphere of the whole cantata is pessimistic, which is further reinforced by the lamenting oboes and a martial flute. Even the final chorale, where the faithful see the error of their ways and ask for a helping hand, offers little comfort.

Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben
Tenth Sunday after Trinity
First performance
25 August 1726
Special notes
At a repeat performance around 1737, the transverse flute was replaced by violino piccolo. Bach later used the opening chorus for the Kyrie in his 'Mass in G minor', BWV 235. The third and fifth movements were given a place in the 'Mass in F major', BWV 233.

Extra videos

Conductor Jos van Veldhoven

“Jos van Veldhoven does not mince matters: Cantata 102 is actually a horrendous cantata.”

Marten Root and Shunske Sato

“Flautist Marten Root and violinist Shunske Sato talk about Bach's choice of an unusual key.”

Vocal texts


Erster Teil

1. Chor
Herr, deine Augen sehen
nach dem Glauben!
Du schlägest sie, aber sie fühlen's nicht;
du plagest sie,
aber sie bessern sich nicht.
Sie haben ein härter Angesicht
denn ein Fels und wollen sich nicht bekehren.

2. Rezitativ (Bass)
Wo ist das Ebenbild, das Gott uns eingepräget,
wenn der verkehrte Will sich ihm zuwiderleget?
Wo ist die Kraft von seinem Wort,
wenn alle Besserung weicht aus dem Herzen fort?
Der Höchste suchet
uns durch Sanftmut zwar zu zähmen,
ob der verirrte Geist sich wollte noch bequemen;
doch, fährt er fort in dem verstockten Sinn,
so gibt er ihn in's Herzens Dünkel hin.

3. Arie (Alt)
Weh der Seele, die den Schaden
nicht mehr kennt
und, die Straf auf sich zu laden,
störrig rennt,
ja von ihres Gottes Gnaden
selbst sich trennt.

4. Arioso (Bass)
Verachtest du den Reichtum seiner Gnade,
Geduld und Langmütigkeit?
Weissest du nicht,
dass dich Gottes Güte zur Busse locket?
Du aber nach deinem verstockten
und unbussfertigen Herzen
häufest dir selbst den Zorn
auf den Tag des Zorns
und der Offenbarung
des gerechten Gerichts Gottes.

Zweiter Teil

5. Arie (Tenor)
Erschrecke doch,
du allzu sichre Seele!
Denk, was dich würdig zähle
der Sünden Joch.
Die Gotteslangmut geht
auf einem Fuss von Blei,
damit der Zorn hernach dir
desto schwerer sei.

6. Rezitativ (Alt)
Beim Warten ist Gefahr;
willst du die Zeit verlieren?
Der Gott, der ehmals gnädig war,
kann leichtlich dich
vor seinen Richtstuhl führen.
Wo bleibt sodann die Buss?
Es ist ein Augenblick,
der Zeit und Ewigkeit,
der Leib und Seele scheidet;
verblendter Sinn,
ach kehre doch zurück,
dass dich dieselbe Stund
nicht finde unbereitet!

7. Choral
Heut lebst du, heut bekehre dich,
eh morgen kömmt, kann's ändern sich;
wer heut ist frisch, gesund und rot,
ist morgen krank, ja wohl gar tot.
So du nun stirbest ohne Buss,
dein Leib und Seel dort brennen muss.

Hilf, o Herr Jesu, hilf du mir,
dass ich noch heute komm zu dir
und Busse tu den Augenblick,
eh mich der schnelle Tod hinrück,
auf dass ich heut und jederzeit
zu meiner Heimfahrt sei bereit.


Part One

1. Chorus
Lord, are not Thine eyes
upon the truth!
Thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; Thou hast consumed them,
but they have refused to receive correction; they have made their faces harder
than a rock, and they have refused to return.

2. Recitative
Where is the image that God has engraved on us,
if perverse wills oppose Him?
Where is the power of His Word,
if all betterment deserts the heart?
Almighty God seeks
indeed to tame us through gentleness,
to see if the erring soul might still submit;
but, if it persists in its obdurate way,
He abandons it to the heart’s arrogance.

3. Aria
Woe unto the soul, who no longer
recognises harm,
and heaping punishment on himself
pursues his own stubborn course,
cutting himself off
from God’s grace.

4. Arioso
Despisest thou the riches of His goodness
and forbearance and longsuffering;
not knowing that the goodness
of God leadeth thee to repentance?
But after thy hardness
and impenitent heart treasurest
up unto thyself wrath
against the day of wrath
and revelation of the righteous
judgment of God.

Part Two

5. Aria
Be frightened, though,
you all too haughty heart!
Think of all that makes
you deserve? the yoke of sins.
God’s forbearance walks
with feet of lead,
that His anger at you
thereafter be the graver.

6. Recitative
In waiting danger lurks;
is it your wish to lose time?
The God, who was once so merciful,
can lead you with ease
to His seat of judgment.
Where then will your repentance be?
It is a moment that divides
time and eternity,
body and soul.
O blinded sense,
turn back again,
lest this same hour
find you unprepared!

7. Chorale
Today you live, repent today;
before the morning dawns, all may change.
He who today is healthy, ruddy-faced, thriving, will tomorrow be sick, or even
dead. ?If you now die unrepentant,
your body and your soul must burn.

Help, O Lord Jesus, help me,
that I may come to Thee today
and repent this instant,
before sudden death takes me,
that I may today and evermore
be prepared for my homecoming.


  • Release date
    22 May 2015
  • Recording 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
  • Interviews
    Onno van Ameijde
  • Acknowledgements
    Angela Mast, Marlo Reeders

Help us to complete All of Bach

There are still many recordings to be made before the whole of Bach’s oeuvre is online. And we can’t complete the task without the financial support of our patrons. Please help us to complete the musical heritage of Bach, by supporting us with a donation!