Johann Sebastian Bach

Himmelfahrts-Oratorium (Ascension Oratorio: "Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen"), for soloists, chorus & orchestra, BWV 11 (BC D9)

    Description by Brian Robins

    There are four extant works by Johan Sebastian Bach for the Feast of the Ascension, part of the liturgical cycle for Easter. Three are cantatas belonging to the cantata cycles composed in 1723-1724 (BWV37), 1724-1725 (BWV128), and 1725-1726 (BWV43). Although often designated as a cantata, the present work is more accurately described as a short oratorio, including as it does a narrative role for the Evangelist. It was composed in 1735, and first performed in one of the principal Leipzig churches on May 19 of that year. The Evangelist's narration was drawn by an unknown librettist from the Gospels of Luke and Mark, and the Acts of the Apostles. These sections plus two recitatives and the chorale placed at the center of the work are the only original parts of the oratorio, the opening and closing choruses, and the two arias all being drawn from previously written cantatas, now lost. The two choruses are planned on a grand scale, with the same brilliantly festive scoring (including three trumpets and drums) Bach had employed in Parts I, III, and IV of the Christmas Oratorio of 1734-1735. The closing chorus is chorale-based, using the hymn "Von Gott will ich nicht lassen" as a choral cantus firmus around which the orchestra weaves a joyously dance-like fantasia. "Ach bleibe doch," the alto aria is an extensive revision of an aria originally found in a lost wedding cantata, the same source the composer drew upon for the Agnus Dei of the Mass in B minor. The soprano aria "Jesu, deine Gandenblicke" is remarkable for the scoring of two flutes, oboe, violins, and violas without bass, the lightly translucent texture reflecting the text's allusion to Christ leaving his body to ascend to Heaven. The central section of recitative includes a telling piece of dramatization at the appearance of the angels, "two men in white apparel," whose words are addressed to the amazed onlookers as a duet.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Lobet Gott in seinem Reichen
    2. Der Herr Jesus hub seine Hände auf
    3. Ach, Jesu, ist dein Abschied schon so nach?
    4. Ach, bleibe doch, mein liebstes Leben
    5. Und ward aufgehaben zusehends
    6. Nun lieget alles unter dir
    7. Und da sie ihm nachsahen gen Himmel fahren/Ihr Manner von Galilaa
    8. Ach ja! so komme bald zurück
    9. Sie aber beteten ihn an
    10. Jesu, deine Gnadenblicke
    11. Wann soll es doch geschehen

    Appears On

    Year Title / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    2018
    Rondeau
    ROP 6154
    2015
    Carus
    CV 83290
    2014
    Linn Records
    BKD 373
    2013
    SDG (Soli Deo Gloria)
    SDG 185
    2013
    Querstand
    VKJK 1111
    2012
    Decca
    2012
    Decca
    4783589
    2011
    Linn Records
    373
    2011
    Warner Classics
    671962
    2010
    Accent
    25310
    2010
    Deutsche Grammophon
    2010
    Brilliant Classics
    94050
    2010
    Harmonia Mundi
    5908354
    2010
    Archiv Produktion
    477 873-5
    2010
    Archiv Produktion / Deutsche Grammophon
    4778735
    2008
    Challenge Classics
    72285
    2008
    Archiv Produktion
    439380
    2008
    EMI Classics
    2292072
    2008
    EMI Classics
    367668
    2008
    Teldec
    69943-7
    2006
    Brilliant Classics
    99697
    2006
    Brilliant Classics
    93102
    2006
    BIS
    1561
    2006
    Teldec Classics
    8573810155
    2006
    Challenge Records
    72220
    2004
    Erato
    4614012
    2003
    Erato / Virgin
    7243562068
    2003
    Harmonia Mundi
    2908135/39
    2002
    Dorian
    90306
    2000
    Archiv Produktion
    463583
    2000
    Haenssler
    92077
    2000
    Harmonia Mundi
    2951479
    2000
    Virgin
    61340
    2000
    Angel Records
    61647
    1999
    Teldec
    25704
    1999
    Leipzig
    1812
    1999
    Various Artists
    Teldec
    3984-25706-2
    1998
    Haenssler
    98976
    1994
    Archiv Produktion
    439 368-2AX26
    1994
    Novalis
    150028
    1994
    Teldec
    4509-91755-2
    1994
    Teldec
    4509-91765-2
    1993
    Harmonia Mundi
    901479
    1988
    Teldec
    35029
    Brilliant
    99705/29
    Brilliant
    93102/130
    Various Artists
    Brilliant Classics
    99705
    Various Artists
    Brilliant Classics
    93102-VOL5
    Edel Records
    1813
    Vanguard
    105
    Haenssler
    Haenssler
    98858
    Teldec