Johann Sebastian Bach

Cantata No. 67, "Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ," BWV 67 (BC A62)

    Description by Brian Robins

    The form of BWV 67 ("Hold in remembrance Jesus Christ"), composed for the first Sunday after Easter 1724, bears a close relationship to BWV 104, and BWV 166, two other cantatas composed by Bach for the post-Easter period that year. In essence this consists of an opening chorus based on a biblical text (in this instance the opening words of the cantata (taken from 2 Timothy 2:8) followed by an aria and a recitative. Then comes a chorale placed at the center of the work. This is succeeded by a recitative and aria, the work concluding with a simple four-part chorale harmonization, in the case of BWV 67 a strophe from the hymn by Jakob Ebert, "Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ" (1601). The present work was first performed in Leipzig on April 16, 1724, thus falling within the context of Bach's first annual cycle of cantatas composed in the city following his appointment as cantor in 1723. The anonymous text is based on the Gospel for the day (John 20:19-31), the story of doubting Thomas. The scoring is for corno di tirasi (a now obsolete brass instrument of the trumpet type), flute, two oboes d'amore, strings, and continuo, plus the customary four-part vocal forces. The opening chorus reflects the joy of Easter, the emphatic cries of "Halt" illustrative of its highly declamatory character. The celebratory nature of the cantata is maintained in the following tenor aria, which is cast in dance-like triple time and features an obbligato part for oboe d'amore. The text refers to the ambiguity felt by Christ's followers in the aftermath of the Crucifixion -- joy mixed with perplexity and doubt. The recitatives placed either side of the central chorale continue to reflect this ambivalence, although the chorale itself, a strophe from Nikolaus Hermann's hymn "Erschienen ist der herrlich Tag" (1560), is more positive. Now follows one of Bach's most original conceptions, a powerfully dramatic scena for bass with interjections from the sopranos, altos, and tenors of the chorus. The soloists' words are those of the risen Christ, "Peace be unto you," while the chorus tumultuously call upon Satan and hell to concede to His victory. Bach later adapted this number as the Gloria of the Lutheran Mass in A, BWV 234.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ
    2. Mein Jesus ist erstanden
    3. Mein Jesu, heisset du des Todes Gift
    4. Erschienen ist der herrlich' Tag
    5. Doch scheinet fast, dass mich der Feinde Rest
    6. Friede sei mit euch
    7. Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2017 J.S. Bach-Stiftung B 592 CD
    2017 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PH 16010
    2016 BIS BIS 9055
    2014 Rondeau / Rondeau Productions ROP 4045
    2014 Brilliant Classics 94947BR
    2014 Profil - Edition Günter Hänssler PH 13054
    2013 Teldec 671863
    2012 Decca 4783589
    2012 Decca
    2011 Warner Classics
    2010 Accent 25311
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2008 Teldec 4697666
    2008 Teldec 69943-7
    2007 Soli Deo Gloria 131
    2007 Teldec
    2007 Elatus
    2007 Teldec Classics 8573811945
    2007 Warner Classics
    2006 Brilliant Classics 93102
    2005 Challenge Records 72207
    2005 Berlin Classics 0032912BC
    2004 Erato 4614012
    2003 Leipzig 1800
    2003 Haenssler 98459
    2002 BIS 1251
    2001 Haenssler 92562
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Haenssler 92021
    1999 Teldec 3984-25707-2
    1998 Erato 3984 23141-2
    1996 Teldec 99874
    1994 Archiv Produktion 439 368-2AX26
    1994 Teldec 4509-91758-2
    1994 Teldec 4509-91765-2
    1993 Teldec 77614
    1993 Archiv Produktion 439374
    1993 Teldec 4509-92627-2
    Brilliant 99704/28
    Brilliant 93102/104
    Brilliant Classics 99704
    Brilliant Classics 93102-VOL4
    Edel Records 1804
    Haenssler
    Haenssler 98882