Johann Sebastian Bach

Cantata No. 27, "Wer weiss, wie nahe mir mein Ende!" BWV 27 (BC A138)

    Description by James Leonard

    Composed for the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity, which fell on October 6, 1726, Bach's Cantata No. 27 "Wer weiss, wie nahe mir mein Ende" (Who knows how near is my end; BWV 27) sets a gloomy text by an unknown author on the typically Lutheran preoccupations of the pain and suffering of life and the reward for the just in heaven through the Lord's intercession. The cantata is scored for tenor, alto, soprano and bass soloists, chorus, natural horn, oboe da caccia, organ obbligato, pairs of oboes, strings, and basso continuo. "Wer weiss, wie nahe mir mein Ende" is harmonically atypical in that it closes in a tonality other than the tonality in which it opens. Its first and second movements are in C minor, its third movement is in E flat major, its fourth and fifth are in G minor, and its sixth movement is D minor, a whole tone above the opening tonality. Structurally, the work is highly unconventional in its outer movements. The first movement interpolates brief recitatives for soprano and alto and tenor soloists into a choral setting for full orchestra and chorus, while the final chorus Welt ade! Ich bin dien mude is an adaptation of a five-part chorale by Johann Rosenmüller for the chorus and orchestra. The inner movements are more conventional: the first is a secco recitative for tenor and continuo; the second is an aria for alto, oboe da caccia, and organ obbligato; and the third is a recitative for soprano and strings. The cantata's closing movement is an aria for bass and strings in a sarabande rhythm.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Wer weiss, wie nahe mir meine Ende
    2. Das weiss der liebe Gott allein
    3. Mein Leben hat kein ander Ziel
    4. Willkommen! will ich sagen
    5. Ach, wer doch schon in Himmel wär'
    6. Gute Nacht, der Weltgetümmel
    7. Welt ade! ich bin dein müde

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 BIS BIS 9055
    2014 Passacaille PAS 989
    2013 Das Alte Werk / Teldec 2564647632
    2012 Sony Classical 88697962552
    2011 Accent ACC2531
    2011 Warner Classics 671866
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2010 Harmonia Mundi 5908357
    2010 Soli Deo Gloria 177
    2008 Teldec 69943-7
    2008 Harmonia Mundi 901969
    2008 Sony Classical 88697318972
    2006 Brilliant Classics 99697
    2006 Brilliant Classics 93102
    2006 Teldec Classics 8573812075
    2005 Soli Deo Gloria 104
    2004 Challenge Records 72216
    2001 Haenssler 92561
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Haenssler 92009
    1999 Teldec 3984-25706-2
    1996 Sony Music Distribution 68265
    1996 Haenssler 98813
    1994 Archiv Produktion 439 368-2AX26
    1994 Teldec 93687
    1994 Archiv Produktion 439387
    1994 Teldec 4509-91756-2
    1994 Teldec 4509-91765-2
    1989 Teldec 42503
    Brilliant 99703/23
    Brilliant 93102/69
    Brilliant Classics 99703
    Brilliant Classics 93102-VOL3
    Haenssler
    Teldec