BWV 249 performed by the Netherlands Bach Society
conducted by Jos van Veldhoven
Walloon Church, Amsterdam

  • Menu
  • 1. Sinfonia
  • 2. Adagio
  • 3. Kommt, eilet und laufet (Chor)
  • 4. O kalter Männer Sinn (Rezitativ)
  • 5. Seele, deine Spezereien (Arie)
  • 6. Hier ist die Gruft (Rezitativ)
  • 7. Sanfte soll mein Todeskummer (Arie)
  • 8. Indessen seufzen wir (Rezitativ)
  • 9. Saget, saget mir geschwinde (Arie)
  • 10. Wir sind erfreut (Rezitativ)
  • 11. Preis und Dank (Chor)

Behind the music

Extra videos
Extra videos

Easter and a birthday

Four biblical characters make their entrance, almost like a Passion Play

This Oster-Oratorium (Easter oratorio) was first performed on Easter Sunday in 1725. Two days earlier, the congregation in Leipzig had listened to the St John Passion, just as in 1724. The closing chorus ‘Ruht wohl, ihr heiligen Gebeine’ sent them on their way home to celebrate Holy Saturday. And then, on Sunday morning, the church resounded with the huge contrast of a Sinfonia with leading roles for three trumpets and timpani. Before the singers get going, Bach seems to recall Jesus’s death with a melancholy Adagio in B minor for solo oboe and strings. This may originally have been the slow middle movement of a lost instrumental concerto. When Bach performed the oratorio again a few years before his death, the oboe solo was played by a transverse flute, just as in this performance.

In Bach’s church music, this Easter oratorio is an exceptional work in the sense that the recitatives and arias are sung by four biblical characters, almost like a Passion Play. They are Mary Magdalene, Mary Jacobe, Simon Peter and John the Apostle. The two men are hurrying towards the tomb of Jesus, where they meet the two women and rejoice together at the resurrection of Jesus. As the protagonists form a model quartet (soprano, alto, tenor and bass), it is to be expected that the four-part closing chorus is also sung by only these four singers.

The first vocal section, ‘Kommt eilet und laufet’, was originally a duet for tenor and bass. So they are really Simon Peter and John the Apostle, who are hurrying to the Holy Sepulchre. For the aforementioned revival near the end of his life, Bach was to rework this opening duet as a four-part ‘chorus’, whereby the middle section was kept as a duet for tenor and bass.

The Oster-Oratorium also has a secular counterpart, the birthday cantata Entfliehet, verschwindet, entweichet, ihr Sorgen, composed by Bach for Duke Christian von Sachsen-Weißenfels in February 1725, just weeks before the first performance of the sacred version. Here, the characters are the four shepherds coming to congratulate the duke. The words of this birthday cantata were written by Bach’s favourite librettist, Christian Friedrich Henrici, alias Picander. It is perfectly plausible that he also wrote the words to the Easter music, and delivered them at the same time, so that Bach could simultaneously compose music to serve for both occasions. Of course, the two versions did need different recitatives. In this secular counterpart, the closing section is written as an ‘aria à quartetto’, which confirms the assumption that Bach had the four solo singers in mind here.

Kommt, eilet und laufet
oratorios and Passions
1725 1732/35 1740/50
unknown, probably Christian Friedrich Henrici (Picander)
Easter Sunday
First performance
1 April 1725
Special notes
There are three versions of this oratorio. The first is a sacred variation on the lost secular cantata Entfliehet, verschwindet, entweichet, ihr Sorgen. The first movement probably originated from a lost instrumental concerto.

Extra videos

Jos van Veldhoven and Thomas Hobbs

“Sorrow has turned to joy: Preis und Dank!”

Vocal texts


1. Sinfonia

2. Adagio

3. Chor
Kommt, eilet und laufet,
ihr flüchtigen Füsse,
erreichet die Höhle,
die Jesum bedeckt!
Lachen und Scherzen
begleitet die Herzen,
denn unser Heil ist auferweckt.

4. Rezitativ (Alt, Sopran, Tenor, Bass)
Maria Magdalena
O kalter Männer Sinn!
Wo ist die Liebe hin,
die ihr dem Heiland schuldig seid?
Maria Jacobi
Ein schwaches Weib muss
euch beschämen!
Ach! ein betrübtes Grämen
und banges Herzeleid
Petrus, Johannes
hat mit gesalznen Tränen
und wehmutsvollem Sehnen
Ihm eine Salbung zugedacht,
Zwei Maria’s
Die ihr, wie wir,
umsonst gemacht.

5. Arie (Sopran)
Maria Jacobi
Seele, deine Spezereien
sollen nicht mehr Myrrhen sein.
Denn allein
mit dem Lorbeerkranze prangen,
stillt dein ängstliches Verlangen.

6. Rezitativ (Tenor, Bass, Alt)
Hier ist die Gruft
Und hier der Stein,
der solche zugedeckt;
wo aber wird mein Heiland sein?
Maria Magdalena
Er ist vom Tode auferweckt!
Wir trafen einen Engel an,
der hat uns solches kundgetan.
Hier seh ich mit Vergnügen
das Schweisstuch
abgewickelt liegen.

7. Arie (Tenor)
Sanfte soll mein Todeskummer
nur ein Schlummer,
Jesu, durch dein Schweisstuch sein.
Ja, das wird mich dort erfrischen
und die Zähren meiner Pein
von den Wangen tröstlich wischen.

8. Rezitativ (Sopran, Alt)
Zwei Maria’s
Indessen seufzen wir
mit brennender Begier:
Ach, könnt es doch
nur bald geschehen,
den Heiland selbst zu sehen!

9. Arie (Alt)
Maria Magdalena
Saget, saget mir geschwinde,
saget, wo ich Jesum finde,
welchen meine Seele liebt!
Komm doch, komm, umfasse mich,
denn mein Herz ist ohne dich
ganz verwaiset und betrübt.

10. Rezitativ (Bass)
Wir sind erfreut,
dass unser Jesus wieder lebt,
und unser Herz,
so erst in Traurigkeit
zerflossen und geschwebt,
vergisst den Schmerz
und sinnt auf Freudenlieder;
denn unser Heiland lebet wieder.

11. Chor
Preis und Dank
Bleibe, Herr, dein Lobgesang.
Höll' und Teufel sind bezwungen,
ihre Pforten sind zerstört;
jauchzet, ihr erlösten Zungen,
dass man es im Himmel hört.
Eröffnet, ihr Himmel,
die prächtigen Bogen,
der Löwe von Juda
kommt siegend gezogen!


1. Sinfonia

2. Adagio

3. Chorus
Come, hurry and run,
you speedy feet,
reach the cavern
which conceals Jesus!
Laugter and merriment
accompanies our hearts,
since our Savior is risen again.

4. Recitative
Mary Magdalene
O cold hearts of men!
Where has your love gone,
that you owe to the Savior?
Mary Jacobi
A weak woman must put
you to shame!
Alas, a troubled grieving
and anxious heartache
Peter, John
along with salty tears
and woeful longing
were intended as a salve for him.
Mary Jacobi, Mary Magdalene
Which you, like us,
prepared in vain.

5. Aria
Mary Jacobi
O soul, your spices
need no longer be myrrh.
For only
crowning with the laurel wreath
will quiet your anxious longing.

6. Recitative
Here is the grave
and here the stone
which sealed it.
Where, however, can my Savior be?
Mary Magdalene
He is risen from the dead!
We encountered an angel
who gave us these tidings.
Here I behold, with pleasure,
his shroud
lying tossed aside.

7. Aria
Gentle shall my death-throes be,
only a slumber,
Jesus, because of your shroud.
Indeed, it will refresh me there,
and the tears of my suffering
it will tenderly wipe from my cheeks.

8. Recitative
Mary Jacobi, Mary Magdalene
Meanwhile we sigh
with burning desire:
Ah, could it only
happen soon,
to see the Savior ourselves!

9. Aria
Mary Magdalene
Tell me, tell me quickly,
say where I can find Jesus,
whom my soul loves!
O come, come, embrace me;
for without you my heart is
completely orphaned and wretched.

10. Recitative
We are delighted
that our Jesus lives again,
and our hearts,
which first dissolved
and floated in grief,
forget the pain
and imagine songs of joy;
for our Savior lives again.

11. Chorus
Praise and thanks
remain, Lord, your hymn of praise.
Hell and devil are conquered,
its gates are destroyed.
Rejoice, you rescued tongues,
so that you are heard in heaven.
Open, O heavens,
your magnificent drawbridges,
the Lion of Judah
approaches in triumph!

translation © Pamela Dellal


  • Release date
    21 April 2019
  • Recording date
    13 May 2017
  • Location
    Walloon Church, Amsterdam
  • Conductor
    Jos van Veldhoven
  • Soprano
    Maria Keohane
  • Alto
    Damien Guillon
  • Tenor
    Thomas Hobbs
  • Bas
    Sebastian Myrus
  • Ripieno soprano
    Marjon Strijk, Kristen Witmer
  • Ripieno alto
    Marleene Goldstein, Barnabás Hegyi
  • Ripieno tenor
    Yves Van Handenhove, David Lee
  • Ripieno bass
    Drew Santini, Matthew Baker
  • 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
    Hen Goldsobel
  • Traverso
    Marten Root, Doretthe Janssens
  • Oboe
    Martin Stadler, Peter Frankenberg
  • Bassoon
    Benny Aghassi
  • Trumpet
    Robert Vanryne, Fruzsina Hara, Mark Geelen
  • Timpani
    Robert Kendell
  • 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
    Jochem Timmerman, Thijs Struick, Martin Struijf
  • Lights
    Zen Bloot, Henry Rodgers, Patrick Galvin
  • Assistant director
    Ferenc Soeteman
  • Video engineer
    Robert-Jan Neijland
  • Set technique
    Justin Mutsaers
  • Data handling
    Jesper Blok
  • Project manager nep
    Peter Ribbens
  • Interview
    Onno van Ameijde, Marloes Biermans
  • Producer concert
    Marco Meijdam, Imke Deters
  • Producer film
    Jessie Verbrugh

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