Johann Sebastian Bach

Cantata No. 42, "Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbaths," BWV 42 (BC A63)

    Description by Brian Robins

    This exceptionally fine cantata was composed in Leipzig for the first Sunday after Easter, receiving its first performance there on April 8, 1725. The unidentified librettist's text of BWV 42 ("Then the same Sabbath at evening") is taken from the opening words of the Gospel for the day, John 20:19-23, which relates the story of the risen Christ's appearance to the fearful disciples. The scoring is for two oboes, bassoon, strings and bass continuo with the usual SATB vocal forces. Unusually for the cantatas of this period, most of which are chorale cantatas, there is only a single chorus, placed at the end of the work. This is a four-part chorale setting drawn from two sources, Martin Luther's translation of the antiphon "Da pacem, Domine," and a prayer for peace by Johann Walther. Equally rare for a cantata in this cycle is Bach's introductory instrumental sinfonia, an extended piece with concertante parts for the oboes and bassoons, and which may have formed part of a lost concerto. It is in da capo form, with a central lyrical section contrasting with the more animated outer parts. This is followed by a narrative recitative for tenor commencing with the words which give the cantata its name. The long succeeding alto aria also employs the oboes and bassoon in a soloistic role. The text is a contemplative commentary on the words of the recitative ("When two or three are assembled") in two parts, an Adagio followed by a central Andante. Then comes a duet marked chorale for tenor and soprano accompanied by bassoon, cello, and continuo. The text is based on a hymn by the seventeenth-century poet Jakob Fabricius (1632), and makes reference to the disciples' fear, calling on man to stand fast against trembling that "will not last for long." This is elaborated upon by the final solo numbers, a recitative and aria for bass, the powerful recitative and emphatically sturdy character of the aria reminding the faithful that "Jesus is a shield unto his people."


    1. Sinfonia in D major
    2. Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats
    3. Wo zwei und drei versammlet sind
    4. Verzage nicht, o Häuflein klein
    5. Man kann hiervon ein schön Exempel sehen
    6. Jesu ist ein Schild der Seinen
    7. Verleich' uns Frieden gnädiglich

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 BIS BIS 9055
    2015 J.S. Bach-Stiftung A 913CD
    2014 Brilliant Classics 94947BR
    2011 Warner Classics 671365
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2010 Harmonia Mundi 5908357
    2008 Teldec 69943-7
    2007 Soli Deo Gloria 131
    2007 BIS 1611
    2006 Brilliant 99697
    2006 Brilliant 93102
    2006 Teldec Classics 8573812015
    2005 Berlin Classics 0032912BC
    2004 Challenge Records 72214
    2004 Haenssler 98837
    2003 Leipzig 1800
    2002 Harmonia Mundi 1951328
    2002 Haenssler 94027
    2001 Haenssler 92561
    2001 Harmonia Mundi 2908116/18
    2000 Harmonia Mundi 2951328
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Haenssler 92014
    1999 Teldec 3984-25706-2
    1999 Harmonia Mundi 2908091/95
    1994 Teldec 4509-91757-2
    1994 Teldec 4509-91765-2
    1990 Harmonia Mundi 901328
    1988 Teldec 35269
    en 99703/4
    Brilliant 99703
    Brilliant 93102/50
    Brilliant 93102-VOL3
    Edel Records 1804
    Hyperion 66501
    Haenssler 98882