Johann Sebastian Bach

Cantata No. 65, "Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen," BWV 65 (BC A27)

    Description by Brian Robins

    BWV 65 ("All they from Sheba shall come") was composed in 1724 for Epiphany Sunday, being first performed in Leipzig on January 6 that year. It therefore dates from the first of the annual cantata cycles (Jahrgang) Bach wrote after taking up his post of cantor at the Thomasschule in Leipzig in 1723, a period of feverish activity during which the composer was producing a new cantata weekly. The unknown author of the text draws on the Gospel for the day, the story of the visit of the Magi to the stable in which Jesus was born (Matthew 2:1-12), and also the Lutheran Epiphany Epistle (Isaiah 60:1-6), from which the cantata derives its title. The scoring is for the usual four-part vocal ensemble, with an orchestral accompaniment calling for pairs of horns, recorders, oboes da caccia, plus the usual complement of strings and continuo. The cantata opens with a picturesque and colorfully orchestrated instrumental introduction that serves as a perfect preface to a magnificent chorus celebrating the gathering of the hosts preparing to glorify the Christ child. Bach's stress here on the word "all" signifies that he has in mind the whole Christian community rather than just the Magi's entourage. This thrilling opening is followed by a four-part harmonization of the Christmas hymn "Ein kind geborn zu Bethlehem" (1545). This is followed by a recitative (which includes passages of arioso) and aria for solo bass, the topic being the bringing of gifts to the manger, the rusticity of the scene painted in the aria by the obbligato writing in canon for the two oboes da caccia, instruments associated with pastoral subjects. Next comes another recitative/aria pairing, this time for tenor. The joyous dance rhythms of the aria are given to a richly-scored orchestra featuring all the instruments mentioned above, the lavishness explained by the text's reference to "wealth's abundance." The aria is a fervent expression of faith in which the singer promises to give to God "All, all that I am." This uplifting cantata ends with another chorale, a simple four-part harmonization of an anonymous melody set to the hymn "Ich hab in Gottes Herz und Sinn" by Paul Gerhardt (1647).

    Parts/Movements

    1. Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen
    2. Die Könige aus Saba kamen dar
    3. Was dort Jesaias vorhergesehn
    4. Gold und Ophir ist zu schlecht
    5. Verschmähe nicht, du, meiner Seele Licht
    6. Nimm mich dir zu eigen hin
    7. Ei nun, mein Gott, so fall' ich dir getrost in deine Hände

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 BIS BIS 9055
    2013 DG Archiv
    2013 Archiv Produktion / DG Deutsche Grammophon 4791712
    2013 Teldec 671863
    2012 Rondeau / Rondeau Productions ROP 4038
    2012 SDG (Soli Deo Gloria) / Soli Deo Gloria SDG 718
    2010 Soli Deo Gloria SDG 174
    2010 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2008 Teldec 69943-7
    2007 Accent 25304
    2006 Brilliant 99697
    2006 Brilliant 93102
    2006 Teldec Classics 8573811955
    2005 Challenge Records CC72208
    2005 Berlin Classics 0032912BC
    2004 Erato 4614012
    2004 Challenge Records 72230
    2004 Haenssler 98836
    2003 BIS 1311
    2003 Leipzig 1800
    2001 Haenssler 92562
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Koch International Classics 374622
    1999 Haenssler 92021
    1999 Erato 3984-25488-2
    1999 Teldec 3984-25707-2
    1998 DG Archiv 457631
    1994 DG Archiv 439 368-2AX26
    1994 DG Archiv 439369
    1994 Teldec 4509-91758-2
    1994 Teldec 4509-91765-2
    1992 Dorian 90113
    Brilliant 99704/17
    Brilliant 99704
    Brilliant 93102/93
    Brilliant 93102-VOL4
    Edel Records 1801
    Haenssler
    Haenssler 98872
    Teldec