Saturday, March 22, 2008


Bach - Matthaus Passion - 1. Coro - Kommt ihr Töchter
1. Chor I & II & Choral.

(Töchter Zion und Gläubige Seelen)

Kommt, ihr Töchter, helft mir klagen,
Sehet! - Wen? - den Bräutigam!
Seht ihn! - Wie? - als wie ein Lamm.
Sehet! - Was? - seht die Geduld,
Seht! - Wohin? - auf unsre Schuld.
Sehet ihn aus Lieb und Huld
Holz zum Kreuze selber tragen.
O Lamm Gottes unschuldig,
Am Stamm des Kreuzes geschlachtet,
Allzeit erfunden geduldig,
Wiewohl du warest verachtet.
All Sünd hast du getragen,
Sonst müßten wir verzagen.
Erbarm dich unser, o Jesu.

1. Chorus I & II and Chorale.

(Daughters of Zion and Faithful Souls)

Come, daughters, help me lament,
behold! - Whom? - the Bridegroom!
Behold Him! - How? - As a Lamb.
Behold! - What? - behold the patience,
look! - Where? - at our guilt.
See Him, out of love and graciousness
bear the wood for the Cross Himself.
O innocent Lamb of God,
slaughtered on the trunk of the Cross,
patient at all times,
however You were scorned.
You have borne all sins,
otherwise we would have to despair.
Have mercy on us, o Jesus.

Roy Goodman, Brandenburg Consort

In spring of 1965, my freshman year in college, the chorus and orchestra performed Bach's Saint Matthew Passion, the big concert of the year. I had friends in both the orchestra and the chorus, so I attended several rehearsals, obtained a copy of the score, and immersed myself in it. Even so, I was not prepared for the performance when it all came together. I was utterly blown away and repeatedly moved to tears. One soloist shattered me as she looked to the heavens and sang with such deep yet restrained emotion that I had to write her a note afterward. She replied, telling me that her father had just died. Torn, she decided to sing anyway and was singing for him. I attended both nights.

The following year I took a year of German just so I could understand the text of that one work. I also spent many hours in practice rooms with upright pianos until I could play the reduced accompaniment of the final chorus all the way through. I have never had a piano lesson in my life.

It is an honor to share some of the experience that marked me so deeply with you this Holy Week. Above is the opening chorus; below the penultimate meditation and the final chorus.

1. Rezitativ (Chorus I) und Chor II.

Nun ist der Herr zur Ruh gebracht.
- Mein Jesu, gute Nacht! -
Die Müh ist aus, die unsre Sünden ihm gemacht.
- Mein Jesu, gute Nacht! -
O selige Gebeine,
Seht, wie ich euch mit Buß und Reu beweine,
Daß euch mein Fall in solche Not gebracht!
- Mein Jesu, gute Nacht! -
Habt lebenslang vor euer Leiden tausend Dank,
Daß ihr mein Seelenheil so wert geacht'.
- Mein Jesu, gute Nacht! -

1. Recitative (Chorus I) and Chorus II

Now the Lord is brought to rest.
- My Jesus, good night! -
The weariness is over, that our sins have given Him.
- My Jesus, good night! -
O blessed bones,
see, how I weep over You with repentance and regret,
since my fall has brought such anguish upon You!
- My Jesus, good night! -
Lifelong, thousand thanks to You for Your suffering,
since You held my soul's salvation so dear.
- My Jesus, good night! -

Collegium Vocale Gent.

Dietrich Henschel (Bass).
Andreas Scholl (Alto).
Sibylla Rubens (Soprano)
Werner Gura (Tenor).

Dir. Philippe Herreweghe.


Wir setzen uns mit Tränen nieder
und rufen dir im Grabe zu:
Ruhe sanfte, sanfte ruh!
Ruht, ihr ausgesognen Glieder!
Ruhet sanfte, ruhet wohl!
Euer Grab und Leichenstein
soll dem ängstlichen Gewissen
ein bequemes Ruhekissen
und der Seelen Ruhstatt sein.
Höchst vergnügt, höchst vergnügt
schlummern da die Augen ein.

Final Chorus (this one is my own translation so it may be rough and I will take some poetic liberty to help my rough text flow):

We sit down, brought low with tears,
and cry out to you in the grave:
Rest gently, have gentle rest!
Rest your exhausted limbs!
Rest gently, rest fully!
May your grave and burial slab
be a comfortable and peaceful cushion
for your tormented conscience
and a resting place for your soul.
Highest delight be yours!
May your eyes now close in slumber.

Roy Goodman, Brandenburg Consort

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, "Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, 'After three days I will rise again.' Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, 'He has been raised from the dead,' and the last deception would be worse than the first." Pilate said to them, "You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can." So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone. (Matthew 27:57-66)
O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
--the BB

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