Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen

Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen

BWVV 56 performed by the Netherlands Bach Society
conducted by Fabio Bonizzoni
Walloon Church, Amsterdam

  • Menu
  • 1. Ich will den Kreuzstab (Arie)
  • 2. Mein Wandel auf der Welt (Rezitativ)
  • 3. Endlich (Arie)
  • 4. Ich stehe fertig und bereit (Rezitativ)
  • 5. Komm, o Tod (Choral)

Behind the music

Extra videos
Extra videos


Words can be illustrated by music in many ways. The illustration is usually audible, but sometimes you need to actually see the score as well

This is one of the few cantatas that Bach actually called a cantata himself, writing ‘Cantata a Voce Sola e Stromenti’ on the score, even though it is not a real solo cantata, as four singers sing one of Bach’s most beautiful chorales at the end. However, the main role is clearly played by the bass. Bach probably wrote the difficult solo part for the law student Johann Christoph Samuel Lipsius, for whom he later composed the cantata Ich habe genung.

The words – by an unknown writer – are very expressive, and compare life’s trials to carrying a cross and to sailing on rough seas, which is right up Bach’s street. He set the words to fitting music, for which you sometimes need to use your eyes as well as your ears. The first aria, for instance, opens with a rising motif, as if the singer is actually lifting the cross. But there is a catch to it. Exactly on the first syllable of the word ‘Kreuzstab’, Bach deviates from the initially easy to sing line. Suddenly there is an unexpected C sharp (the German name for the sharp sign translates as ‘cross’) – which is real ‘Augenmusik’, especially as Bach also wrote the word ‘Kreuzstab’ as ‘Xstab’.

Bach underlines the image of a ship on rough seas with an undulating cello part, which calms down as the waves subside. This is followed by a cheerful aria – actually a duet between the oboe and the bass – which expresses the certainty that the suffering will come to an end sometime. The lines here are long and virtuoso. Perseverance is necessary before the yoke is removed. Before the simple yet perfect closing chorale, the essence of the first aria returns: 
"Then [when in the promised land] into my grave shall I place all my grief, than shall my Saviour wipe the tears from my eyes".

Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen
nineteenth Sunday after Trinity
First performance
27 October 1726

Extra videos

Conductor Fabio Bonizzoni

“Conductor Fabio Bonizzoni thinks that the chorale in this cantata is incredibly beautiful.“Even though there are few notes, I can hardly imagine anything more beautiful”.”

Vocal texts


1. Arie (Bass)
Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen,
er kömmt von Gottes lieber Hand,
der führet mich nach meinen Plagen
zu Gott, in das gelobte Land.
Da leg ich den Kummer auf einmal ins Grab,
da wischt mir die Tränen
mein Heiland selbst ab.

2. Rezitativ (Bass)
Mein Wandel auf der Welt
ist einer Schiffahrt gleich:
betrübnis, Kreuz und Not
sind Wellen, welche mich bedecken
und auf den Tod mich täglich schrecken;
mein Anker aber, der mich hält,
ist die Barmherzigkeit,
womit mein Gott mich oft erfreut.
Der rufet so zu mir: ich bin bei dir,
ich will dich nicht verlassen noch versäumen!
Und wenn das wütenvolle Schäumen sein Ende hat,
so tret ich aus dem Schiff in meine Stadt,
die ist das Himmelreich,
wohin ich mit den Frommen
aus vielem Trübsal werde kommen.

3. Arie (Bass)
Endlich, endlich wird mein Joch
wieder von mir weichen müssen.
Da krieg ich in dem Herren Kraft,
da hab ich Adlers Eigenschaft,
da fahr ich auf von dieser Erden
und laufe sonder matt zu werden.
O gescheh es heute noch!

4. Rezitativ (Bass)
Ich stehe fertig und bereit,
das Erbe meiner Seligkeit
mit Sehnen und Verlangen
von Jesus Händen zu empfangen.
Wie wohl wird mir geschehn,
wenn ich den Port der Ruhe werde sehn.
Da leg ich den Kummer auf einmal ins Grab,
da wischt mir die Tränen
mein Heiland selbst ab.

5. Choral
Komm, o Tod, du Schlafes Bruder,
komm und führe mich nur fort;
löse meines Schiffleins Ruder,
bringe mich an sichern Port!
Es mag, wer da will, dich scheuen,
du kannst mich vielmehr erfreuen;
denn durch dich komm ich herein
zu dem schönsten Jesulein.


1. Aria (Bass)
Gladly shall I bear the cross;
it comes from God’s beloved hand,
and leads me, after my torments,
to God, into the promised land.
Then into my grave shall I place all my grief,
that shall my Saviour
wipe the tears from my eyes.

2. Recitative (Bass)
My life on earth
is like a voyage at sea:
sorrow, affliction and distress
engulf me like waves
and daily frighten me to death;
my anchor, though, which sustains me,
is God’s mercy,
with which He often gladdens my heart.
He calls out to me: I am with you,
I shall never leave you nor forsake you!
And when at length the raging foam is calmed,
I shall step from my ship into my own city,
which is the kingdom of Heaven,
where I with all the righteous
shall enter out of so great tribulation.

3. Aria (Bass)
At last, at last my yoke
shall fall from me again.
Then shall I find strength in the Lord,
then shall I, like an eagle,
rise up from this earth without
ever growing weary.
O may it come to pass today!

4. Recitative (Bass)
I stand here ready and prepared,
to receive my heritage of bliss
with yearning and desire
from the hands of Jesus.
How happy I shall be,
when I behold the harbour of rest.
Then into my grave shall I place all my grief,
than shall my Saviour wipe the tears
from my eyes.

5. Chorale
Come, O death, brother of sleep,
come now and lead me away;
loosen now my small bark’s rudder,
bring me safely into port.
Let them who wish to, shun you;
you can all the more delight me.
For it is through you that I shall enter,
to be with my sweetest Jesus.


  • Release date
    1 May 2015
  • Recording date
    17 January 2015
  • Location
    Walloon Church, Amsterdam
  • Conductor and organ
    Fabio Bonizzoni
  • Bass
    Matthias Winckhler
  • Soprano
    Maria Keohane
  • Alto
    Barnabás Hegyi
  • Tenor
    Robert Buckland
  • Violin 1
    Shunske Sato, Pieter Affourtit, Anneke van Haaften
  • Violin 2
    Sayuri Yamagata, Paulien Kostense, Annelies van der Vegt
  • Viola
    Staas Swierstra, Jan Willem Vis
  • Cello
    Lucia Swarts, Richte van der Meer
  • Double bass
    Robert Franenberg
  • Oboe
    Martin Stadler, Peter Frankenberg, Yongcheon Shin
  • Bassoon
    Benny Aghassi
  • Church organ
    Leo van Doeselaar
  • Concert production
    Erik van Lith, Marco Meijdam
  • Producer
    Frank van der Weij
  • Film director
    Joost Honselaar
  • Director of photography
    Simon Aarden
  • Camera
    Simon Aarden, Ruben van den Broeke, Jorrit Garretsen, Benjamin Sparschuh, Indy Hamid
  • Film editor
    Joost Honselaar
  • Music recording producer
    Leo de Klerk
  • Gaffer
    Zen Bloot
  • Production assistant
    Zoë de Wilde
  • Score reader
    Niek Wijns
  • Make up
    Marloes Bovenlander, Jamila el Bouch
  • Camera assistant
    Izak de Dreu
  • Best boy
    Jur Oster
  • Music recording assistants
    Jaap Firet, Jaap van Stenis, Bobby Verbakel
  • Music edit and mix
    Leo de Klerk, Frank van der Weij
  • Music edit and mix assistant
    Nina Kraszewska
  • Colorist
    Jef Grosfeld
  • Interview
    Gijs Besseling, Kasper Koudenburg
  • Acknowledgements
    Nienke Meuleman

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