Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren

Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren

BWV 231 performed by the Netherlands Bach Society
conducted by Jos van Veldhoven
St. Martin's Church, Groningen

Behind the music

Extra videos
Extra videos

An upgrade for the middle section

For a long time, this music was earmarked 'not by Bach'. Now we know better

This piece was buried in the repository of compositions known as ‘dubious’ and ‘attributed wrongly’ - a collection of music that bears Bach’s name in certain sources, but where there is uncertainty as to whether Bach actually composed it. Adding a famous composer’s name to a piece of music, especially in a later source, can make the music more attractive and saleable.

Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren was doubly well buried. In most sources from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, it is included as the middle section of a three-part piece entitled Jauchzet dem Herrn, alle Welt. This complete motet was attributed to Bach in many sources. But because the last section has been taken from Telemann’s cantata Lobt Gott, ihr Christen allzugleich, and the first section is probably also by Telemann, the complete motet was categorised as ‘probably not by Bach’.

In 1983, however, musicologist Klaus Hoffman gave the middle section – Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren – an upgrade, as it comes from the second section of Bach’s cantata Gottlob! nun geht das Jahr zu Ende. So the piece was given its own BWV number: 231, which was later changed again to 28/2a.

Motets, BWV 225-231, 118 and Anh159
Cantatas were Bach’s daily bread and a regular part of his weekly tasks as Cantor of St Thomas’s. His motets were a different case entirely. Apart from the cantata, hardly any new music was played in Leipzig (music was selected instead from the motet collection Florilegium Portense). This gave Bach scope for writing commissioned works for private occasions, often funerals. Unfortunately, probably dozens of these works have been lost. The pieces that did survive have stayed on the repertoire since their composition, unlike Bach’s other vocal works.

The surviving authentic motets – nine works, although research continues – build on a genre with an impressive pedigree. Against the background of strict Renaissance polyphony, the generation of Schütz (1585-1672) borrowed elements from the opulent, polychoral works of Giovanni Gabrieli and gave them a Central-German, Lutheran twist. In Bach’s case, too, the content focused on chorales and biblical passages, whereby worldly madrigalism (or put simply: portraying the words) served only to reinforce the expression of the religious genre.

231 or 28/2a
Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren
Johann Gramann
Special notes
This motet is based on the second part of the cantata 'Gottlob! nun geht das Jahr zu Ende', BWV 28

Extra videos

Conductor Jos van Veldhoven

“In this masterly motet, Bach shows his thorough command of the time-honoured techniques of polyphony, says Jos van Veldhoven.”

Vocal texts


Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren
Gott Vater, Sohn und Heil'gem Geist!
Der woll in uns vermehren,
was er uns aus Gnaden verheisst,
dass wir ihm fest vertrauen,
gänzlich verlass'n auf ihn,
von Herzen auf ihn bauen,
dass uns'r Herz, Mut und Sinn
ihm tröstlich solln anhangen.
Drauf singen wir zur Stund:
amen, wir werd'ns erlangen,
glaub'n wir aus Herzensgrund.


May there be praise and glory and honour 
May it be his will to increase in us 
for God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit! 
what he promised us through his grace, 
so that we firmly trust him, 
surrender ourselves wholly to him, 
build on him in our hearts, 
so that our heart, spirit and mind 
steadfastly depend on him. 
For this reason we sing now: 
Amen, we shall achieve this, 
we believe from the bottom of our hearts.


  • Release date
    14 November 2014
  • Recording date
    15 March 2014
  • Location
    St. Martin's Church, Groningen
  • Conductor
    Jos van Veldhoven
  • Choir soprano
    Marjon Strijk, Hilde Van Ruymbeke, Klaartje van Veldhoven, Orlanda Velez Isidro
  • Choir alto
    Victoria Cassano MCDonald, Barnabás Hegyi, Saskia Kruysse, Elena Pozhidayeva
  • Choir tenor
    Robert Buckland, Diederik Rooker, Ronald Threels, Endrik Üksvärav
  • Choir bass
    Pierre-Guy le Gall White, Martijn de Graaf Bierbrauwer, Michiel Meijer, Lionel Meunier
  • Organ
    Leo van Doeselaar
  • Concert production
    Marco Meijdam, Imke Deters
  • Producer
    Frank van der Weij
  • Film directors
    Lucas van Woerkum, Joost Honselaar
  • Director of photography
    Sal Kroonenberg
  • Camera
    Sal Kroonenberg, Robert Berger, Ruben van den Broeke, Benjamin Sparschuh, Indy Hamid
  • Film editors
    Lucas van Woerkum, Frank van der Weij
  • Music recording producer
    Leo de Klerk
  • Gaffer
    Alban Riphagen
  • Best boy
    Sam Dupon
  • Producion assistant
    Zoë de Wilde
  • Score reader
    Jan Van den Bossche
  • Make up
    Marloes Bovenlander, Jamila el Bouch, Marloes de Jong
  • Music producer's assistant
    Menno van Delft
  • Music recording assistants
    Jaap Firet, Gilius Kreiken, Jaap van Stenis
  • Music edit and mix
    Leo de Klerk, Frank van der Weij
  • Music edit and mix asssistant
    Martijn Snoeren
  • Colorist
    Jef Grosfeld
  • Interview
    Onno van Ameijde
  • Acknowledgements
    Jan Haak