January 16, 2021

Easter II: Pic & Cantata of the Week

After Rain

(Click on picture for larger image)

One of two cantatas for the second Sunday in Easter is “Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ” — “Keep in mind Jesus Christ.” It is the earliest of two that Bach wrote for this Sunday, both of which have been described as “masterpieces.” As for its content, Craig Smith remarks: “The ambiguous and difficult situation of the doubt of the verity of Christ’s resurrection and hoping that it was true make it perfect for a musical treatment. Contrapuntal music is perfect for expressing conflicting emotions, and there are several classic examples of that technique in this work.”

Smith also opines, “This cantata is one of the most extraordinary examples of Bach’s ability to make a dramatic statement that is at the same time interior and profound. The sense of being in a new place by the end of the cantata without having made any outward journey is characteristic of his best pieces.”

For today’s selection, the remarkable penultimate movement to the cantata, described below, and then the final chorus.

Now follows one of Bach’s most original conceptions, a powerfully dramatic scene for bass with interjections from the sopranos, altos, and tenors of the chorus. The soloist’s words are those of the risen Christ, “Peace be unto you,” while the chorus tumultuously call upon Satan and hell to concede to His victory.

Brian Robins

• • •

Peace be with you!

Soprano, Alto, Tenor:
How fortunate we are! Jesus helps us to fight
and to subdue the rage of the enemy,
Hell, Satan, give in!

Peace be with you!

Soprano, Alto, Tenor:
Jesus calls us to peace
hand in our weariness revives
spirit and body together.

Peace be with you!

Soprano, Alto, Tenor:
Oh Lord, help us and let us succeed
in pressing on through death
into your glorious kingdom.

Peace be with you!

You prince of peace, Lord Jesus Christ,
true man and true God,
you are a strong helper in distress,
in life and in death.
Therefore we only
in your name
cry to your Father.


  1. Susan Dumbrell says

    Satan now conquered
    Spirit’s breath bade him depart
    Jesus, the Victor

  2. if you are risen
    in this heavy broken world
    then raise me up too

  3. Susan Dumbrell says

    ponder His promise
    I AM with you forever,
    healing and comfort

  4. CM, hope the book signing went well for you and Damaris, and that you are finding some recovery on this “day of rest”.

    I set my alarm this morning and went to Sunday School with Rob Bell and the Lutherans. Not much different from previous sessions with Evangelical teaching and with John Hagee. Most critical response consists of “this is what happened to me once” followed by “that’s nothing, this is what happened to me once” until time is up. Granted, the Nooma presented was fairly innocuous. Back in two weeks.

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