Franz Tunder (1614-1667): Ach Herr, laß deine lieben Engelein

Bach used the text to Tunder’s cantata Ach Herr, laß deine lieben Engelein (O lord, let Thy dear angels) in the closing chorale of Bach’s St. John Passion, it’s from Schalling’s hymn Herzlich lieb hab ich dich, o Herr (Great is my love for Thee, o Lord) but there’s absolutely no resemblance between the two pieces. Tunder’s setting scored for soprano, four viols and basso continuo is a concertante aria that eschews the chorale in favour some lovely arioso writing. It starts with an eloquent sinfonia following which the soloist enters into a dialogue with the strings. It has some wonderful musical portrayals such as the melodic ascent which depicts the soul’s rise and entry into Abraham’s bosom or the equally wonderful depiction of the descent into the tomb using increasingly lower registers or the way in which Tunder depicts rest (Ruh’ bis am Jüngsten Tage) by using long held almost languid notes. The second part of the cantata is equally eloquent using shifts of register and tone to depict the soul’s rejoicing at awakening to the sight of Christ on his  throne of mercy. Enjoy :-).


Text & Translation: Ach Herr, laß deine lieben Engelein

Ach, Herr, laß dein’ lieb’ Engelein
Am letzten End’ die Seele mein
In Abrahams Schoß tragen!
Der Leib in sein’m Schlafkämmerlein
Gar sanft, ohn’ ein’ge Qual und Pein,
Ruh’ bis am Jüngsten Tage.
Alsdenn vom Tod erwecke mich
Daß meine Augen sehen dich
In aller Freud’, o Gottes Sohn,
Mein Heiland und mein Gnadenthron!
Herr Jesu Christ,
Erhöre mich, erhöre mich,
Ich will dich preisen ewiglich!

Text: Martin Schalling (1569)
English Translation: Francis Browne (June 2003)
Translation Source: Chorale: Herzlich lieb hab’ ich dich, o Herr – Text & English Translation

Ah Lord, let your dear angels
at my last end carry my soul
to Abraham’s bosom,
while my body in its narrow chamber of sleep
gently without pain and torment
rests until the last day!
Then awaken me from death,
so that my eyes may see you
in all joy, o God’s son,
my saviour and throne of mercy!
Lord Jesus Christ,
hear me, hear me,
I want to praise you for ever!

Series Navigation<< Franz Tunder (1614-1667): An Wasserflüssen BabylonHans Leo Hassler (1562-1612): Ad Dominum >>

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