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Cantata 55: Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht (1726) BWV 55

Cantata 55: Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht

Aria (Tenor)
Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht,
Ich geh vor Gottes Angesichte
Mit Furcht und Zittern zum Gerichte.
Er ist gerecht, ich ungerecht.
Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht!
Recitativo (Tenor)
Ich habe wider Gott gehandelt
Und bin demselben Pfad,
Den er mir vorgeschrieben hat,
Nicht nachgewandelt.
Wohin? soll ich der Morgenröte Flügel
Zu meiner Flucht erkiesen,
Die mich zum letzten Meere wiesen,
So wird mich doch die Hand des Allerhöchsten finden
Und mir die Sündenrute binden.
Ach ja!
Wenn gleich die Höll ein Bette
Vor mich und meine Sünden hätte,
So wäre doch der Grimm des Höchsten da.
Die Erde schützt mich nicht,
Sie droht mich Scheusal zu verschlingen;
Und will ich mich zum Himmel schwingen,
Da wohnet Gott, der mir das Urteil spricht.
Aria (Tenor)
Erbarme dich!
Lass die Tränen dich erweichen,
Lass sie dir zu Herzen reichen;
Lass um Jesu Christi willen
Deinen Zorn des Eifers stillen!
Erbarme dich!
Recitativo (Tenor)
Erbarme dich!
Jedoch nun
Tröst ich mich,
Ich will nicht für Gerichte stehen
Und lieber vor dem Gnadenthron
Zu meinem frommen Vater gehen.
Ich halt ihm seinen Sohn,
Sein Leiden, sein Erlösen für,
Wie er für meine Schuld
Bezahlet und genug getan,
Und bitt ihn um Geduld,
Hinfüro will ich’s nicht mehr tun.
So nimmt mich Gott zu Gnaden wieder an.
Choral
Bin ich gleich von dir gewichen,
Stell ich mich doch wieder ein;
Hat uns doch dein Sohn verglichen
Durch sein Angst und Todespein.
Ich verleugne nicht die Schuld,
Aber deine Gnad und Huld
Ist viel größer als die Sünde,
Die ich stets bei mir befinde.

I, wretched man, I, slave to sin

Aria (Tenor)
I, wretched man, I, slave to sin,
I go before God’s very presence
With fear and trembling unto judgment.
E’er just is he, unjust am I,
I, wretched man, I, slave to sin.
Recitative (Tenor)
I have against my God offended
And have upon the path
Which he did once prescribe for me
Not steadfast traveled.
Where now? Should I the rosy morning’s pinions
For this my flight elect now,
To take me to the ocean’s limits,
Yet would e’en still the hand of God Almighty find me
And with the rods of sin chastise me.
Ah yes!
If even hell a bed could
For me and all my sins make ready,
Yet would indeed the wrath of God be there.
The earth protects me not,
It threatens wicked me to swallow;
And I would lift myself to heaven,
Where God doth dwell, who shall my judgment tell.
Aria (Tenor)
Have mercy, Lord!
Let my tears now make thee soften,
Let them reach into thy bosom;
Let for Jesus Christ’s own glory
All thy zealous wrath grow calm now!
Have mercy, Lord!
Recitative (Tenor)
Have mercy, Lord!
However,
I now hope
That I’ll not stand before his judgment,
But rather to the throne of grace
Of this my righteous Father venture.
I’ll offer him his Son,
His passion, his redemption then,
And how he for my sin
Hath all repaid sufficiently,
And beg him to forbear,
Henceforth will I my sin forswear.
Thus take me God into thy grace again.
Chorale
Though I now from thee have fallen,
I will come again to thee;
For now hath thy Son redeemed us
Through his fear and pain of death.
I do not deny my guilt,
But thy mercy and thy grace
Are much greater than my sins are,
Which I ever find within me.
Translations by Z. Philip Ambrose are published in J.S. Bach: The Extant Texts of the Vocal Works in English Translations with Commentary Volume 1: BWV 1-200; Volume 2: BWV 201- (Philadelphia: XLibris, 2005) and also online at www.uvm.edu/~classics/faculty/bach.

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Composer

Johann Sebasian Bach (31 March [O.S. 21 March] 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the Boroque period. He enriched established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include the Brandenburg concertos, th Goldburg Variations, the Mass in B minor, two Passions, and over three hundred cantatas of which around two hundred survive. His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth.

Bach's abilities as an organist were highly respected during his lifetime, although he was not widely recognised as a great composer until a revival of interest in and performances of his music in the first half of the 19th century. He is now generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.

Read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Sebastian_Bach


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