Session footage from VOCES8's recording of cantata 150 'Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich' by JS Bach. VOCES8 is recording with the Academy of Ancient Music (Bojan Čičič, leader), directed by Barnaby Smith. The track forms part of the VOCES8's 15th anniversary recording project, 'After Silence', and can be found on all digital music platforms.
For more information about the album project, visit
Notes by Paul Williamson
Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich, BWV 150, known only from secondary sources, is probably Bach’s earliest surviving cantata, written while he was organist at the Neue Kirche in Arnstadt (1703–7). The work’s modest scoring reflects the limited musical resources at his disposal; it is also an old- style Protestant cantata, untouched by the reforms of Erdmann Neumeister, who advocated the introduction of madrigalesque poetry, operatic recitatives and da capo arias. BWV 150 takes a more restrained Lutheran approach, setting texts from Scripture (verses from Psalm 25 in movements 2, 4 and 6) alongside interpretative stanzas by an unknown poet (in movements 3, 5 and 7). To understand the Psalms, Luther said, we must consider that David was a prophet, and unless he instructs otherwise, we must take the sacred poetry to refer to Christ. Accordingly, in BWV 150, the Psalmist’s entreaties to the God of the Old Testament find Christian meanings in the exegetical modern verse. Similarly, commenting on Psalm 25:15 (set in movement 6), Luther explains the image of the ‘foot’ being released from the ‘net’ as the redemptive power of God’s grace, delivering the faithful from worldly snares. Valuing sacred music as a divine gift, Luther also compared the harmonious singing of many voices to a ‘heavenly dance’, a point surely recalled by Bach in the final movement of Nach dir, Herr, which takes the form of a chaconne. Nearly two centuries later, Bach’s inviting little dance was famously reborn in the final movement of Brahms’ Fourth Symphony, premiered in October 1885.
Text and Translation
Words: Psalm 25:1–2, 5, 15 (mvts 2, 4, 6); anon. (mvts 3, 5, 7)
Siehe dazu auch: