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
bass, soprano, tenor
ca. 1715
Weimar, revival in Leipzig in 1724
Erdmann Neumeister
Sexagesima Sunday
First performance
24 February 1715; later performed on 13 February 1724

With support from

Stichting Elise Mathilde Fonds

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 (Tenor, Bass) und Chor
(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!
Du wollest deinen Geist
und Kraft zum Worte geben;
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,
Den Satan unter unsre Füße treten;
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.
Und uns vor des Türken
und des Papsts grausamen Mord
und Lästerungen, Wüten und Toben
väterlich behüten;
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!
Alle Irrige und Verführte wiederbringen;
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 (Bass)
Just as the rain and snow
falls from heaven,
and does not return there,
but waters the earth
and makes it fruitful and growing,
so that it gives seed to sow
and bread to eat:
thus also shall be the word
that proceeds from my [the Lord’s] mouth;
it shall not return to me empty
but do what pleases me,
and shall prosper in the thing for which I send it.

3. Recitative (Tenor, Bass) and Chorus
(T) My God, here will my heart be:
I open it to you in my Jesus’s name;
So scatter your seed [into my heart]
As into good soil.
My God, here will my heart be:
Let such [a heart] bring forth fruit, and a hundredfold.
O Lord, Lord, help/save!
O Lord, let [me/us] prosper well!
May you grant your [Holy] Spirit
and power together with your word.
Hear us, dear Lord God!
(B) Only forbid, faithful father, forbid
That the devil’s deceit
Might pervert me or any [other] Christian.
His disposition is entirely directed
To robbing us of your word
Along with all blessedness/salvation.
Trample Satan under our feet.
Hear us, dear Lord God!
(T) Ah! Many deny [God’s] word and [the Christian] faith and fall away like rotten fruit,
If they are to suffer persecution.
So they plummet into eternal heartache [in hell],
Because they avoid a temporal woe [on earth].
And in the face of the Turk’s
and of the Pope’s gruesome murderousness
and blasphemies, raging and ranting,
protect us like a father.
Hear us, dear Lord God!
(B) Another looks after only his stomach;
Meanwhile, his soul is entirely forgotten about;
Mammon, too,
Has taken possession of many a heart.
Then the word [of God] cannot touch any faculty [of the soul]. And how many souls does
Pleasure not hold captive?
So greatly does the world mislead them,
The world, which for them must stand in place of heaven, on account of which they go astray from heaven. 
Bring back all who err and all who are misled.
Hear us, dear Lord God!

4. Aria (Soprano)
God’s word is my soul’s treasure;
Aside from it, all treasures are such nets
As the world and Satan weave
To ensnare contemptible souls.
Away with all [those treasures], away, just away!
God’s word is my soul’s treasure.

5. Chorale
I plead, o Lord, from the bottom of my heart,
May you not take from me,
Out of my mouth, your holy word;
So my sin and guilt
Will not put me to shame,
For on your favor
I place all my trust:
Whosoever just firmly Relies on that,
He will not [eternally] look upon death.

transl. © Daniel R. Melamed and Michael Marissen
For the annotated version of the text and translation, see here.


  • 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
  • With support from
    Stichting Elise Mathilde Fonds

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