Bist du bei mir

Bist du bei mir

BWV 508 performed by Charles Daniels,
Menno van Delft and Fred Jacobs
at the Bartolotti House, Amsterdam

Behind the music

Extra videos
Extra videos

A token of love

Bach gave the second Notenbüchlein to his wife as a gift

If Bach wrote one singalong tune, it was surely Bist du bei mir? Unfortunately not. Although Bach did have a hand in it, the song itself is by… Stölzel. The theme was a wonderful choice to open his gift music book to Anna Magdalena: a simple song of gratitude, trust, faith in God and faith in his second wife. We do not know how the couple were familiar with the aria from Stölzel’s Diomedes, but maybe the opera was so fashionable that tout Leipzig was humming the melody.

The Notenbüchlein für Anna Magdalena Bach
Shortly after their arrival in Leipzig in 1723, Johann Sebastian and Anna Magdalena Bach revealed themselves as a cultural power couple. Although Anna Magdalena gave up her successful public singing career, she joined her husband in running a thriving music business, alongside looking after a large and growing family. We have at least two tangible traces of their married life in the form of two Notenbüchlein from 1722 and 1725.

Whereas the first Notenbüchlein was still a sort of notebook, containing things like early versions of five ‘French Suites’ (and who knows what else, as two-thirds of the pages are missing), the second one was definitely intended as a gift from Johann Sebastian to his wife. In fair copy, he notated two Partitas and all sorts of other music of Anna Magdalena’s own choosing, such as the aria from the Goldberg Variations and the song Dir, dir Jehova, as well as music by composers like Couperin and Anna Magdalena’s stepson Carl Philipp Emanuel. Together, the Notenbüchlein form a colourful mix of arias, chorales and suites.

Bist du bei mir
songs and arias
Notenbüchlein für Anna Magdalena Bach
Special notes
Not by Bach, but by Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel.

With support from

Stichting Elise Mathilde Fonds

Extra videos

Tenor Charles Daniels

“Tenor Charles Daniels talks about the Notenbüchlein für Anna Magdalena Bach.”

Vocal texts


Bist du bei mir, geh' ich mit Freuden
zum Sterben und zu meiner Ruh'.
Ach, wie vergnügt wär' so mein Ende,
es drückten deine lieben schönen Hände
mir die getreuen Augen zu!


If you’re with me, I’ll gladly follow
To end my life and start my rest.
How blest I’d be, if at my ending
Your own dear hands would be those sending
My eyes to close, at your behest.

translation © Ruth van Baak Griffioen, 2020


  • Release date
    2 November 2018
  • Recording date
    12 May 2018
  • Location
    Bartolotti House, Amsterdam
  • Tenor
    Charles Daniels
  • Organ
    Menno van Delft
  • Theorbo
    Fred Jacobs
  • Director, camera and lights
    Gijs Besseling
  • Music recording
    Guido Tichelman, Bastiaan Kuijt
  • Music edit and mix
    Guido Tichelman
  • Camera, lights
    Nina Badoux
  • Camera and lighting assistant
    Eline Eestermans
  • Interview
    Onno van Ameijde, Marloes Biermans
  • Producer concert
    Marco Meijdam
  • Producer film
    Jessie Verbrugh
  • With support from
    Stichting Elise Mathilde Fonds

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