Johann Sebastian Bach

Cantata No. 2, "Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein," BWV 2 (BC A98)

    Description by James Leonard

    Composed for the Second Sunday after Trinity, which fell on June 18, 1724, Bach's Cantata No. 2 "Ach Gott, vom Himmel sich darein" (Ah God, look down from heaven) (BWV 2) sets a chorale by Martin Luther from 1524 as its choral outer movements and a text by an unknown author for its four central solo movements. The texts implore the help of God in keeping the saintly few safe against the heathen, the heinous, and the heretical. The cantata is scored for tenor, alto and bass soloists, chorus, pairs of oboes, strings, basso continuo, and a quartet of trombones supporting the chorus in the outer movements. The cantata is in D minor with its first, second, and sixth movements in the tonic, its third in B flat major, and its the fourth and fifth movements in G minor. The first movement is a baleful choral fugue with Luther's chorale appearing as a descant in the alto voice. The second movement is an anguished recitative preceded by a very brief Adagio for tenor soloist and continuo. The third movement is a cheerful aria in the form of a trio sonata for alto and violin soloists above the continuo. The fourth movement is an impassioned, accompanied recitative for bass strings and continuo that halfway through transforms into a sorrowful Arioso. The fifth movement is an accompanied aria for tenor with a pair of oboes joining the strings and continuo. "Ach Gott, vom Himmel sich darein" concludes with Luther's chorale for the chorus and entire orchestral ensemble.


    1. Ach Gott, von Himmel sieh' darein
    2. Sie lehren eitel falsche List
    3. Tilg', o Gott, die Lehren
    4. Die Armen sind verstört
    5. Durch's Feuer wird das Silber rein
    6. Das woll'st du, Gott, bewahren rein

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 BIS BIS 9055
    2016 Sony Classical 88985320832
    2011 Warner Classics 671962
    2010 Soli Deo Gloria 165
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2010 Harmonia Mundi 5908354
    2008 Accent 25307
    2008 Teldec 69943-7
    2006 Brilliant 99697
    2006 Brilliant 93102
    2006 BIS 1461
    2006 Challenge Records 72210
    2006 Teldec Classics 8573810125
    2003 Harmonia Mundi 901791
    2001 Haenssler 92561
    2001 Koch 7535
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Haenssler 92001
    1999 Teldec 3984-25706-2
    1996 Haenssler 98801
    1994 Teldec 4509-91755-2
    1994 Teldec 4509-91765-2
    Brilliant 99703/26
    Brilliant 99703
    Brilliant 93102/72
    Brilliant 99705/35
    Brilliant 99705
    Brilliant 93102-VOL3
    Erato 80220