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 / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    2018
    Various Artists
    Brilliant Classics
    95853
    2016
    BIS
    BIS 9055
    2013
    Archiv Produktion
    2013
    Archiv Produktion / Deutsche Grammophon
    4791712
    2013
    Teldec
    671863
    2013
    Erato
    2564647429
    2012
    Rondeau / Rondeau Productions
    ROP 4038
    2012
    SDG (Soli Deo Gloria) / Soli Deo Gloria
    SDG 718
    2010
    Soli Deo Gloria
    SDG 174
    2010
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2010
    Brilliant Classics
    94050
    2009
    BIS
    9030/32
    2008
    Teldec
    69943-7
    2007
    Accent
    25304
    2006
    Brilliant Classics
    93102
    2006
    Brilliant Classics
    99697
    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
    Archiv Produktion
    457631
    1994
    Archiv Produktion
    439 368-2AX26
    1994
    Archiv Produktion
    439369
    1994
    Teldec
    4509-91758-2
    1994
    Teldec
    4509-91765-2
    1992
    Dorian
    90113
    Brilliant
    99704/17
    Brilliant Classics
    99704
    Brilliant
    93102/93
    Brilliant Classics
    93102-VOL4
    Edel Records
    1801
    Haenssler
    Haenssler
    98872
    Teldec