Herr Gott, Dich loben alle wir

Herr Gott, Dich loben alle wir

BWV 130 performed by the Netherlands Bach Society
conducted by Jos van Veldhoven
St. Martin's Church, Groningen

  • Menu
  • 1. Herr Gott, dich loben (Chorale)
  • 2. Ihr heller Glanz (Recitative)
  • 3. Der alte Drache (Aria)
  • 4. Wohl aber uns (Recitative)
  • 5. Lass, o Fürst (Aria)
  • 6. Darum wir billig (Chorale)

Behind the music

Story
Story
Extra videos
Extra videos
Texts
Texts
Credits
Credits

The ancient dragon

All the stops are pulled out in 'Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir'; from spectacular trumpets and timpani to an intimate song of praise.

It is about battle and the eternal fight between good and evil – in this case in the guise of a dragon. The very first notes make it clear who will win: God’s angels. God is praised and thanked with triumphal music, and the three trumpets and the timpani lend an extra festive air. Above it all, in the soprano part, you hear the chorale Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir.
In his aria, the bass sings about how ghastly the devil can be. Vigilance is called for, as he is cunning and spiteful, and does not let up for a moment. This is heard in the furious runs in the trumpet part. The accompaniment of the tenor, on the other hand, is very charming. In a gentle song of praise with an angelic flute solo, he asks the angels for protection. Finally, the whole ensemble joins in again with triumphal music that has the same melody as the beginning, but then in a homophonic setting, with the text sung by all the voices at the same time. This brings the message across even more strongly.

Bach wrote this cantata for the saint’s day of the archangel Michael, who according to the Book of Revelation conquered the dragon in heaven with his troops of angels. Although this did not root out all evil, it cast it back to earth. So this day focuses on the firm conviction that good will conquer evil. Bach reflects this in the cantata with a festive ensemble that includes trumpets, oboes, timpani, a transverse flute and strings.

BWV
130
Title
Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir
Genre
cantatas
Year
1724
City
Leipzig
Lyricist
unknown, after the song of the same name by Paul Eber (1554)
Occasion
Michaelmas (29 September)

Extra videos

Angels and Trumpets

“Why does Bach spare no expense on the day of St Michael's feast? Jos van Veldhoven explains.”

Vocal texs

Original

1. Choral
Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir
und sollen billig danken dir
für dein Geschöpf
der Engel schon,
die um dich schwebn
um deinen Thron.

2. Rezitativ (Alt)
Ihr heller Glanz
und hohe Weisheit zeigt,
wie Gott sich zu
uns Menschen neigt,
der solche Helden,
solche Waffen
vor uns geschaffen.
Sie ruhen ihm zu Ehren nicht;
ihr ganzer Fleiss
ist nur dahin gericht’,
dass sie, Herr Christe,
um dich sein
und um dein
armes Häuflein:
wie nötig ist doch
diese Wacht
bei Satans Grimm
und Macht?

3. Arie (Bass)
Der alte Drache
brennt vor Neid
und dichtet stets
auf neues Leid,
dass er das kleine
Häuflein trennet.
Er tilgte gern,
was Gottes ist,
bald braucht er List,
weil er nicht Rast
noch Ruhe kennet.

4. Rezitativ (Sopran, Tenor)
Wohl aber uns, dass Tag und Nacht
die Schar der Engel wacht,
des Satans Anschlag zu zerstören!
Ein Daniel, so unter Löwen sitzt,
erfährt, wie ihn die Hand des Engels schützt.
Wenn dort die Glut
in Babels Ofen keinen Schaden tut,
so lassen Gläubige ein Danklied hören,
so stellt sich in Gefahr
noch itzt der Engel Hülfe dar.

5. Arie (Tenor)
Lass, o Fürst der Cherubinen,
dieser Helden hohe Schar
immerdar deine Gläubigen bedienen;
dass sie auf Elias Wagen
sie zu dir gen Himmel tragen.

6. Choral
Darum wir billig loben dich
und danken dir, Gott, ewiglich,
wie auch der lieben Engel Schar
dich preisen heut und immerdar.
Und bitten dich, wollst allezeit
dieselben heissen sein bereit,
zu schützen deine kleine Herd,
so hält dein göttlichs Wort in Wert.

Translation

1. Chorale 
Lord God, we all praise Thee,
and should justly thank Thee
for creating 
the angelic host
that hovers around Thee 
and Thy throne. 

2. Recitative 
Their radiance 
and high wisdom show 
how God inclines 
Himself to man
and fashioned for us
such heroes 
and weapons. 
They do not cease to praise Him;
they strive 
for one thing alone: 
that they, Lord Jesus, 
might ever 
surround Thee 
and Thy poor flock;
how necessary 
is this vigil,
in the face of Satan’s rage 
and might! 

3. Aria 
The ancient dragon 
burns with envy 
and constantly devises 
new pain 
to break up 
that little flock. 
He would gladly destroy 
all that is God’s, 
and will soon resort to cunning,
for he knows neither rest 
nor respite. 

4. Recitative 
It is well for us that, day and night,
the angelic host keeps watch
to demolish Satan’s onslaught!
A Daniel, sitting amongst the lions,
learns how the angel’s hand protects him. 
When Babel’s fiery furnace 
causes no injury,
the faithful sing a hymn of praise; 
thus even in danger
the angels’ help is still at hand. 

5. Aria 
Grant, O Prince of the Cherubim, 
that this high host of heroes
may evermore tend Thy believers; 
grant that the angels on Elijah’s chariot 
may bear them up to Thee in Heaven. 

6. Chorale 
Therefore we justly praise Thee 
and thank Thee, O God, eternally, 
just as Thy dear angelic host 
praises Thee now and evermore. 
And we beseech Thee to bid 
them always be prepared
to protect Thy small flock, 
in fulfilment of Thy Word.

Credits

  • Release date
    2 May 2014
  • Recording date
    5 October 2013
  • Location
    St. Martin's Church, Groningen
  • Conductor
    Jos van Veldhoven
  • Soprano
    Maria Keohane
  • Alto
    Maarten Engeltjes
  • Tenor
    Benjamin Hulett
  • Bass
    Christian Immler
  • Choir soprano
    Monica de Jesus Monteiro, Hilde Van Ruymbeke, Klaartje van Veldhoven, Orlanda Velez Isidro
  • Choir alto
    Victoria Cassano McDonald,Gemma Jansen, Saskia Kruysse, Elena Pozhidaeva
  • Choir tenor
    Yves van Handenhove, Diederik Rooker, Kevin Skelton, Ronald Threels
  • Choir bass
    Donald Bentvelsen, Jelle Draijer, Michiel Meijer, Frank Hermans
  • Violin 1
    Shunske Sato, Lidewij van der Voort, Hanneke Wierenga
  • Violin 2
    Pieter Affourtit, Anneke van Haaften, Paulien Kostense
  • Viola
    Deirdre Dowling, Jan Willem Vis
  • Cello
    Lucia Swarts, Barbara Kernig
  • Double bass
    Joshua Cheatham
  • Traverso
    Marten Root
  • Oboe
    Martin Stadler, Peter Frankenberg, Sarah Aßmann
  • Bassoon
    Benny Aghassi
  • Trumpet
    Robert Vanryne, Mark Geelen, Michael Harrison, Dave Hendry
  • Timpani
    Luuk Nagtegaal
  • Harpsichord
    Siebe Henstra
  • Church organ
    Leo van Doeselaar
  • Organ registration
    Tim Knigge
  • Concert production
    Marco Meijdam, Imke Deters
  • Producer
    Frank van der Weij
  • Film director
    Lucas van Woerkum
  • Director of photography
    Robert Berger
  • Camera
    Sal Kroonenberg, Jorrit Garretsen
  • Film editors
    Lucas van Woerkum, Frank van der Weij
  • Music recording producer
    Leo de Klerk
  • Gaffer
    Alban Riphagen
  • Producion assistant
    Zoë de Wilde
  • Score reader
    Jan Van den Bossche
  • Make up
    Marloes Bovenlander, Jamila el Bouch, Emine Camadan
  • Camera assistant
    Chris Tjong Ayong
  • Music producer's assistant
    Mieneke van der Velden
  • Music recording assistants
    Gilius Kreiken, Jaap van Stenis
  • Music edit and mix
    Frank van der Weij
  • Music edit and mix asssistant
    Martijn Snoeren
  • Colorist
    Geert van Schoot
  • Acknowledgements
    Jan Haak
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