J.S. Bach: Bist Du Bei Mir

Written by Michael Barrett

Associate Artistic Director, NYFOS

September 19, 2017

I’m surveying some of my favorite Bach this week. I won’t be able to make a dent in the 250 surviving Cantatas, Oratorios, Masses, or Passions, alas. It’s true that most of Bach’s vocal output is liturgical. There are exceptions:  The Coffee Cantata, the Hunt Cantata, and this beauty found in Anna Magdalena Bach’s Notebook. Did she write it herself? One of her talented sons? Or was it a valentine from her husband that she wrote down in her musical journal? Here is a lovely performance from a musically precocious boy soprano. This is the kind of voice that sang almost all of Bach’s music in the Leipzig Thomaskirche, usually when the ink was still wet.

My quick translation-

Be next to me
I will go with joy
To my death and peace.
Oh how delightful
Will my end be.
Your beautiful hands
Will close my loyal and loving eyes.

Michael Barrett

Michael Barrett is the co-founder and associate artistic director of New York Festival of Song, as well as the co-founder and music director of the Moab Music Festival in Utah. A conductor and a pianist, Michael was a protégé of Leonard Bernstein and serves as music advisor to the Leonard Bernstein Estate.


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