Johann Sebastian Bach

Cantata No. 161, "Komm, du süsse Todesstunde," BWV 161 (BC A135)

    Description by James Leonard

    Composed in Weimar for the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity, which fell on September 27, 1716, Bach's Cantata No. 161 "Komm, du susse Todesstunde" (Come, Sweet Death) (BWV 161) sets a text by Salomon Franck with the text of the closing movement taken from a chorale byChristoph Knoll from 1611. The cantata is scored for alto and tenor soloists, chorus, a pair of flutes, strings, and basso continuo. "Komm, du susse Todesstunde" is in C major with its first, second, fourth, and fifth movements in the tonic and its third movement in the relative minor of A minor. However, all of the C major movements lean heavily toward the relative minor, giving the cantata a more mournful quality. The first movement is a fusion of an aria for alto soloist with recorders and organ obbligato plus continuo with statements of lines from Knoll's chorale by the sopranos. The second movement starts as a sorrowful secco recitative for tenor soloist and continuo, but becomes much more ornate in its final bars. The third movement is a da capo aria for tenor soloist and strings with continuo. The fourth movement is a highly involved recitative for alto soloist with flutes and strings plus continuo. "Komm, du susse Todesstunde" concludes with a combination double concerto for the flute soloists accompanied by strings and continuo with a lushly harmonized statement of Knoll's chorale for chorus.


    1. Komm, du süsse Todesstunde
    2. Welt, deine Lust ist Last
    3. Mein Verlangen ist, den Heiland zu umfangen
    4. Der Schluss ist schon gemacht
    5. Wenn es meines Gottes Wille
    6. Der Leib zwar in der Erden

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 BIS BIS 9055
    2013 Warner Classics 81162
    2013 Teldec 467189
    2012 Virgin Classics / Warner Classics 5099923229
    2011 Warner Classics 674464
    2010 Das Alte Werk
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2010 Harmonia Mundi 5908357
    2008 Challenge Classics 72281
    2008 Brilliant Classics 93668
    2008 Teldec 69943-7
    2008 Harmonia Mundi 901969
    2008 ATMA Classique ACD 23001
    2007 Chandos 742
    2006 Brilliant Classics 99697
    2006 Brilliant Classics 93102
    2006 Virgin 63281
    2005 Soli Deo Gloria 104
    2004 Brilliant Classics 92391
    2003 Challenge Records 72203
    2003 ATMA Classique 22279
    2001 Haenssler 92563
    2000 Haenssler 92049
    2000 BIS 841
    2000 Direct Source 30702
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Teldec 3984-25709-2
    1996 Erato 14336
    1996 Haenssler 98812
    1994 Koch International Classics 7164
    1994 Teldec 4509-91762-2
    1994 Teldec 4509-91765-2
    1988 Teldec 35657
    Brilliant Classics 99703
    Brilliant Classics 93102-VOL3
    Bach Guild 2539
    Brilliant 99703/12
    Brilliant 92391/35
    Brilliant Classics 93668/35
    Brilliant 93102/58
    Bach Guild 2541