Johann Sebastian Bach

Cantata No. 9, "Es ist das Heil uns kommen her," BWV 9 (BC A107)

    Description by James Leonard

    Composed sometime between 1732 and 1735 for the Sixth Sunday after Trinity, Bach's Cantata No. 9 "Es ist das Heil uns kommen her" (Salvation has come to us) (BWV 9) is based on a hymn by Paul Speratus from 1523. The unknown poet who wrote Bach's text dropped the last two verses of Speratus' 14-verse poem, set the first and 12th verses as the first and seventh movements of the cantata, and re-worked the second through 11th verses as the central sequence of arias, duets, and recitatives. The cantata is scored for bass, tenor, soprano and alto soloists, chorus, solo transverse flute, oboe d'amore, strings, and basso continuo. The cantata is in E major, with its first and seventh movement in the tonic, its second starting in C sharp minor and ending in B major, its third in E minor, its fourth starting in B minor and ending in A major, its fifth in A major, and its sixth in B major. The first movement is typical of the opening movements of Bach's cantatas, with its orchestral polyphony interspersed with lines of Speratus' hymn stated in the sopranos and florid embellishments in the lower choral voices. The solo flute, oboe d'amore, and occasional concertante solo violin give the movement a brilliant, concerto-like texture. The second, fourth, and sixth movements are all dour recitatives for bass and basso continuo, but with the fourth closing with a two-bar arioso. The third movement is earnest da capo aria for tenor, orchestral violins, and continuo. The fifth movement is a da capo aria for soprano and alto duet accompanied by flute and oboe d'amore over a simple continuo. Interestingly, both the woodwind soloists and the singers develop the musical material as a series of canons. "Es ist das Heil uns kommen her" concludes with a lush harmonization of the final verse of Speratus' hymn for the entire chorus and orchestra.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Es ist das Heil uns kommen her
    2. Gott gab uns ein Gesetz
    3. Wir waren schon zu tief gesunken
    4. Doch musste das Gesetz erfüllet werden
    5. Herr, du siehst statt guter Werke
    6. Wenn wir die Sünd' aus dem Gesetz erkennen
    7. Ob sich's anliess, als wollt' er nicht

    Appears On

    Year Title / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    2017
    ATMA Classique
    ACD 22406
    2016
    J.S. Bach-Stiftung
    B 431
    2016
    BIS
    BIS 9055
    2014
    Accent
    ACC 25318
    2013
    BIS
    1991
    2011
    Warner Classics
    671962
    2010
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2010
    Brilliant Classics
    94050
    2009
    SDG (Soli Deo Gloria)
    156
    2008
    Teldec
    69943-7
    2006
    Brilliant Classics
    93102
    2006
    Brilliant Classics
    99697
    2006
    Teldec Classics
    8573810145
    2006
    Challenge Records
    72220
    2001
    Haenssler
    92561
    1999
    Teldec
    25704
    1999
    Haenssler
    92003
    1999
    Various Artists
    Teldec
    3984-25706-2
    1994
    Archiv Produktion
    439 368-2AX26
    1994
    Archiv Produktion
    439387
    1994
    Teldec
    4509-91755-2
    1994
    Teldec
    4509-91765-2
    1993
    BMG
    84207
    1988
    Teldec
    35029
    Brilliant
    99704/3
    Brilliant Classics
    99704
    Brilliant
    93102/79
    Brilliant
    99705/35
    Various Artists
    Brilliant Classics
    99705
    Brilliant Classics
    93102-VOL4
    Haenssler
    Teldec
    Haenssler
    98859