Gleichwie der Regen und Schnee vom Himmel fällt

Gleichwie der Regen und Schnee vom Himmel fällt

BWV 18 performed by the Netherlands Bach Society
conducted by Shunske Sato
Groote Kerk, Maassluis

  • Menu
  • 1. Sinfonia
  • 2. Gleich wie der Regen (Rezitativ)
  • 3. Mein Gott (Rezitativ und Chor)
  • 4. Mein Seelenschatz (Arie)
  • 5. Ich bitt, o Herr (Choral)

Behind the music


Dark timbre

The third movement of this cantata is very exceptional.

This cantata for Sexagesima Sunday (the second Sunday before Ash Wednesday and approximately the sixtieth day before Easter) is one of Bach’s earliest. As in all his early cantatas, here too the instrumentation is unusual. Bach requires a bass group specifically comprising at least an bassoon, a cello, a violone, an organ and four violas. There are no wind or high string instruments. Artistic director Shunske Sato says, “It’s very daring. You don’t see it anywhere else in his oeuvre. Later, in Leipzig, Bach wrote a version to which he added recorders. This amended version is often performed, but we’re opting for the original version. I like that dark timbre”.

The third movement is very exceptional. Here, Bach interweaves a paraphrase of the gospel of the day, the parable of the sower from Luke 8, with a traditional Lutheran litany. In the parable from the gospel of Luke, Jesus compares God’s message to the seed of a sower. When it is scattered over the earth, it leads to different results. Some seed falls on fertile ground and yields a good crop, while some is trodden underfoot or dries out, or rots, or lies forgotten. While the tenor and bass reflect on the biblical reading, the soprano keeps interrupting with a more general call for help. She sings a litany, a beseeching plea for help. Her melody is a sort of formula on a repeated note, which is then backed up by the alto, tenor and bass in a sort of collective response. For this, Neumeister and Bach used a standard text by Luther.

The passages for tenor and bass are very illustrative. For example, the bass sings ominous trills to the words ‘Teufels Trug’ and the tenor has a long and difficult series of notes to ‘Verfolgung’. After the tenor’s reflections on losing one’s faith and on persecution, the soprano asks for protection from ‘des Türken und des Papsts grausamen Mord und Lästerungen, Wüten und Toben’. Although these words may feel misplaced nowadays, at the time Luther wrote them they were very relevant. The Turks were besieging the city of Vienna and the rise of Protestantism was fiercely opposed by Rome.

Gleichwie der Regen und Schnee vom Himmel fällt
ca. 1715
Weimar, revival in Leipzig in 1724
Erdmann Neumeister
Sexagesima Sunday
First performance
24 February 1715; later performed on 13 February 1724

Extra videos

Vocal texts


1. Sinfonia

2. Rezitativ (Bass)
Gleichwie der Regen und Schnee
vom Himmel fällt
und nicht wieder dahin kommet,
sondern feuchtet die Erde
und macht sie fruchtbar und wachsend,
daß sie gibt Samen zu säen
und Brot zu essen:
Also soll das Wort,
so aus meinem Munde gehet, auch sein;
es soll nicht wieder zu mir leer kommen,
sondern tun, das mir gefället,
und soll ihm gelingen, dazu ichs sende.

3. Rezitativ und Chor (Sopran, Alt, Tenor, Bass)
(T) Mein Gott,
hier wird mein Herze sein:
Ich öffne dirs in meines Jesu Namen;
So streue deinen Samen
Als in ein gutes Land hinein.
Mein Gott, hier wird mein Herze sein:
Laß solches Frucht, und hundertfältig bringen!
O Herr, Herr, hilf!
O Herr, laß wohlgelingen!
(S) Du wollest deinen Geist
und Kraft zum Worte geben;
(tutti) Erhör uns, lieber Herre Gott!
(B) Nun wehre, treuer Vater, wehre,
Daß mich und keinen Christen nicht
Des Teufels Trug verkehre.
Sein Sinn ist ganz dahin gericht’,
Uns deines Wortes zu berauben
Mit aller Seligkeit,
(S) Den Satan unter unsre Füße treten;
(tutti) Erhör uns, lieber Herre Gott!
(T) Ach! Viel’ verleugnen Wort und Glauben
Und fallen ab wie faules Obst,
Wenn sie Verfolgung sollen leide
So stürzen sie in ewig Herzeleid,
Da sie ein zeitlich Weh vermeiden.
(S) Und uns vor des Türken
und des Papsts grausamen Mord
und Lästerungen, Wüten und Toben
väterlich behüten;
(tutti) Erhör uns, lieber Herre Gott!
(B) Ein andrer sorgt nur für den Bauch;
Inzwischen wird der Seele ganz vergessen.
Der Mammon auch
hat vieler Herz besessen.
So kann das Wort zu keiner Kraft gelangen.
Und wieviel Seelen hält die Wollust
nicht gefangen?
So sehr verführet sie die Welt!
Die Welt, die ihnen muß anstatt des Himmels stehen,
Darüber sie vom Himmel irregehen!
(S) Alle Irrige und Verführte wiederbringen;
(tutti) Erhör uns, lieber Herre Gott!

4. Arie (Sopran)
Mein Seelenschatz ist Gottes Wort.
Außer dem sind alle Schätze solche Netze,
Welche Welt und Satan stricken,
Schnöde Seelen zu berücken.
Fort mit allen, fort, nur fort!
Mein Seelenschatz ist Gottes Wort.

5. Choral
Ich bitt, o Herr, aus Herzensgrund,
Du wollst nicht von mir nehmen
Dein heilges Wort aus meinem Mund;
So wird mich nicht beschämen
Mein Sünd und Schuld,
denn in dein Huld
Setz ich all mein Vertrauen.
Wer sich nur fest darauf verläßt,
Der wird den Tod nicht schauen.


1. Sinfonia

2. Recitative
For as the rain cometh down
and the snow from heaven 
and returneth not thither,
but watereth the earth
and maketh it bring forth and bud,
that it may give seed to the sower
and bread to the eater:
so shall my word be
that goeth forth out of my mouth:
it shall not return unto me void,
but it shall accomplish that which I please,
and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

3. Recitative and Chorale
(T) My God,
here shall my heart abide:
I open it to Thee in Jesus’ name;
so scatter Thy seed,
as if on fertile land.
My God, here shall my heart abide:
let it bring forth fruit an hundredfold.
O Lord, Lord, help!
O Lord, let it prosper!
(S) Mayest Thou add Thy spirit
and power to the Word.
(tutti) Hear us, dear Lord!
(B) Prevent, faithful father, prevent
the devil’s guile
from turning me and any Christian away from Thee.
That is his sole intention,
to deprive us of Thy word
and of all happiness.
(S) May Satan be trodden beneath our feet.
(tutti) Hear us, dear Lord!
(T) Ah! many renounce both Word and faith
and fall away like rotting fruit
when they suffer persecution.
And so they are plunged into lasting grief
for avoiding earthly woe.
(S) And from the Turk’s and the Papist’s
cruel murder and blaspheming,
raging and fury,
fatherlike protect us.
(tutti) Hear us, dear Lord!
(B) Another man may only tend his belly;
his soul meanwhile is quite forgotten;
and Mammon too
has possessed the heart of many.
The Word, therefore, cannot increase in strength.
And how many souls
are held captive by lasciviousness?
The world leads them so astray,
the world, which replaces heaven for them,
that they wander far from heaven.
(S) Bring back all who have been led astray.
(tutti) Hear us, dear Lord!

4. Aria
My soul’s true treasure is God’s Word;
all other treasures are mere snares,
set by the world and Satan,
to bewitch contemptible souls.
Away with them all, away, away!
My soul’s true treasure is God’s Word.

5. Chorale
I bid Thee, Lord, from the depths of my heart,
do not take Thy holy Word
away from my mouth;
my sin and guilt
will not then shame me,
for in Thy care
I place all my trust.
He who truly trusts in that
shall never look on death.


  • Release date
    5 March 2020
  • Recording date
    21 September 2019
  • Location
    Groote Kerk, Maassluis
  • Viola and direction
    Shunske Sato
  • Soprano
    Griet De Geyter
  • Alto
    Bernadett Nagy
  • Tenor
    Guy Cutting
  • Bass
    Drew Santini
  • Viola
    Pieter Affourtit, Anneke van Haaften, Staas Swierstra
  • Cello
    Lucia Swarts
  • Double bass
    Robert Franenberg
  • Bassoon
    Benny Aghassi
  • Organ
    Leo van Doeselaar
  • Harpsichord
    Siebe Henstra
  • Director and editor
    Bas Wielenga
  • Music recording
    Guido Tichelman, Bastiaan Kuijt, Pim van der Lee
  • Music edit and mix
    Guido Tichelman
  • Camera
    Martin Struijf, Gideon Krijnen, Jesper Blok, Menco van Duren
  • Lights
    Zen Bloot, Henry Rodgers, Patrick Galvin, Fiona Verkleij
  • Assistant director
    Ferenc Soeteman
  • Set technique
    Justin Mutsaers
  • Project manager team eng
    Ron Vermeulen
  • Producer concert
    Imke Deters, Marco Meijdam
  • Producer film
    Jessie Verbrugh
  • Acknowledgement
    Groote Kerk Maassluis & Stichting Muziek tussen Maas en Sluis
  • Supported by
    Stichting Elise Mathilde Fonds

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