Johann Sebastian Bach

Cantata No. 113, "Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut," BWV 113 (BC A122)

    Description by James Leonard

    Composed for the eleventh Sunday after Trinity, which fell on August 20, 1724, Bach's Cantata No. 113 "Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut" (Lord Jesus Christ, you highest good) (BWV 113) sets a penitential text by Bartholomaus Ringwalt in its first, second, fourth, and eighth movements and anonymous texts paraphrasing Ringwalt's text in its third, fifth, and sixth movements. The cantata is scored for alto, bass, tenor, and soprano soloists and chorus, a pair of oboes d'amore, strings, and basso continuo and a transverse flute in its fifth movement. "Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut" starts with its first movement in woeful B minor, its second in the minor dominant of F sharp minor, its third in A major relative major of the minor dominant, its fourth in the minor subdominant of E minor, and its fifth, sixth, and seventh movements in the relative major. The first movement is a setting of Ringwalt's chorale for chorus with independent orchestral parts, including expressive first violins. The second is a paraphrase of Ringwalt's chorale for alto soloist, with all of the violins playing a highly expressive part for all violins in unison. The third is a 12/8 aria in the form of a trio sonata for muscular bass soloist, richly embellished oboe d'amores, and continuo. The fourth is secco recitative for bass soloist and active continuo that begins with a line from Ringwalt's chorale. The fifth is a da capo aria in the form of a trio sonata for tenor soloist, virtuoso transverse flute, and continuo. The sixth is a recitative for tenor soloist, representative strings, and continuo. The seventh is an extremely difficult aria duetto for alto and soprano soloists plus continuo. "Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut" concludes with a severe harmonization of Ringwalt's chorale ending on a picardy third for chorus and orchestra tacit.


    1. Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut
    2. Erbarm' dich mein in solcher Last
    3. Fürwahr, wenn mir das kömmet ein
    4. Jedoch dein helsam Wort, das micht
    5. Jesus nimmt die Sünder an
    6. Der Heiland nimmt die Sünder an
    7. Ach Herr, mein Gott, vergib mirs doch
    8. Stark' mich mit dienem Freudengeist

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 BIS BIS 9055
    2013 Teldec 671853
    2011 Warner Classics 674287
    2010 Brilliant Classics 94050
    2010 Archiv Produktion 477 873-5
    2010 Archiv Produktion / Deutsche Grammophon 4778735
    2008 Teldec 69943-7
    2007 Teldec Classics 8573811755
    2007 Warner Classics
    2006 Brilliant Classics 93102
    2006 Brilliant Classics 99697
    2006 Challenge Records 72211
    2004 BIS 1351
    2001 Haenssler 92562
    2001 Erato 80215
    2000 Haenssler 92036
    2000 Archiv Produktion 463591
    1999 Teldec 25704
    1999 Teldec 3984-25708-2
    1996 Haenssler 98810
    1994 Teldec 4509-91760-2
    1994 Teldec 4509-91765-2
    en 99703/4
    Brilliant Classics 99703
    Brilliant Classics 93102/50
    Brilliant Classics 93102-VOL3