Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft

Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft

BWV 50 performed by the Netherlands Bach Society
conducted by Jos van Veldhoven
St. Martin's Church Groningen

Behind the music

Extra videos
Extra videos

Dizzying network

Although we know little about the origins of this choral work, Bach gives us vocal fireworks from beginning to end

There are more unknowns about Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft than knowns. Is it a separate piece or was it part of something else? For what occasion did Bach write it? Is the eight-voice version actually by Bach, or has someone else adapted Bach's perhaps original five-part version into a double-choir work?

There is doubt about the authenticity of the standard version with eight vocal parts divided over two choirs (the version being performed here). Some experts believe that the double choir element was added by someone else later on, after which Bach's original version was lost. This supposed five-part original version has been reconstructed by various musicologists, including Jan Kleinbussink. We also recorded that reconstructed five-part version.

The occasion of the work is not clear either. The words correspond well to the Feast of St Michael or Michaelmas. In heaven, according to the Book of Revelations, the archangel Michael and his troops of angels conquered the devil disguised as a dragon. Evil was thus cast back down to earth from heaven. So this feast day celebrates the belief that good will conquer evil.

Neither is it clear whether the piece is an independent whole or rather the opening or closing section of a lost cantata. What is certain is that Bach gives us vocal fireworks from beginning to end. In the two sections of equal length, the ascending theme with the audible key words ‘Macht’ and ‘Gott’ is continually repeated (once in descending mirror image), while the other voices add virtuoso countermelodies. It is only towards the end of each half that the structure becomes temporarily a little looser. The result is a dizzying network of musical lines, as if thousands of souls are joining together in exuberant praise of God.

Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft
lyrics derived from Revelations 12:10
Michaelmas? (29 September)

Extra videos

Conductor Jos van Veldhoven

“It's doubtful whether we should call BWV 50 a cantata.”

Vocal texts


1. Chor
Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft
und das Reich und die Macht
unsers Gottes seines Christus worden,
weil der verworfen ist,
der sie verklagete Tag und Nacht vor Gott.


1. Chorus 
Now is come salvation and strength, 
and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down,
which accused them 
before our God day and night.


  • Release date
    3 October 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
  • Oboe
    Martin Stadler, Peter Frankenberg, Sarah Aßmann
  • Bassoon
    Benny Aghassi
  • Trumpet
    Robert Vanryne, Mark Geelen, Michael Harrison
  • Timpani
    Luuk Nagtegaal
  • Harpsichord
    Siebe Henstra
  • Church organ
    Leo van Doeselaar
  • Organ registration
    Tim Knigge
  • Concert production
    Imke Deters, Marco Meijdam
  • Producer
    Frank van der Weij
  • Film director
    Lucas van Woerkum
  • Director of photography
    Sal Kroonenberg
  • Camera
    Robert Berger, Jorrit Garretsen, Sal Kroonenberg
  • Film editors
    Lucas van Woerkum, Frank van der Weij
  • Music recording producer
    Leo de Klerk
  • Gaffer
    Alban Riphagen
  • Production 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
    Jaap van Stenis, Gilius Kreiken
  • 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

Five or eight voices?

We recorded two versions of this work: the 'standard' version with eight vocal parts and a reconstructed five-part version.

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