Cantata 5 (Leusink)

Johann Christoph Weigel, Jonah Flees, from Biblia ectypa: Bildnussen auss Heiliger Schrifft Alt und Neuen Testaments, Pitts Theological Library, 1695

Wo soll ich fliehen hin
Where shall I refuge find

Cantata 5


Event: Chorale Cantata for the 19th Sunday after Trinity
1st Performance:
October 15, 1724, Leipzig

Ephesians 4: 22-28; Gospel: Matthew 9: 1-8
Johann Heermann
(Mvts. 1, 7); Anon (Mvts. 2-6)
Chorale Text:
Wo soll ich fliehen hin.

Click to read brief commentaries by Simon Crouch
for Classical Net, James Leonard for All Music, Craig Smith for Emmanuel Music, and the Bach Cantata Guide.


Performance by Soprano: Joanne Lunn; Counter-tenor: William Towers; Tenor: James Gilchrist; Bass: Peter Harvey; Monteverdi Choir / English Baroque Soloists; John Eliot Gardiner conducting.  Live recording from the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage, at Erlöserkirche, Potsdam, Germany.

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Performance by Soprano: Ruth Holton; Alto: Sytse Buwalda; Tenor: Nico van der Meel; Bass: Bas Ramselaar; Holland Boys Choir / Netherlands Bach Collegium; Pieter Jan Leusink conducting. Recorded at St. Nicolas Church, Elburg, Holland.

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1) Chorus [S, A, T, B] Oboe I/II, Violino I/II, Viola, Tromba da tirarsi col Soprano, Continuo

Wo soll ich
fliehen hin
Where should I flee
Weil ich beschweret bin
since I am weighed down
Mit viel und großen Sünden?
by my many grievious sins?
Wo soll ich Rettung finden?
Where should I find rescue?
Wenn alle Welt herkäme,
If everybody in the world came to me,
Mein Angst sie nicht wegnähme.
they would not take away my anguish.

2) Recitative [Bass] Continuo

Der Sünden Wust hat mich nicht nur befleckt
e mess of my sins has not only stained me,
Er hat vielmehr den ganzen Geist bedeckt,
it has rather covered my whole soul,
Gott müßte mich als unrein von sich treiben;
God would have to drive me away from him as something unclean.
Doch weil ein Tropfen heilges Blut
But since a drop of his sacred blood
So große Wunder tut,
does such great wonders,
Kann ich noch unverstoßen bleiben.
I am still able to stay unrejected.
Die Wunden sind ein offnes Meer,
His wounds are an open sea
Dahin ich meine Sünden senke,
in which I sink my sins
Und wenn ich mich zu diesem Strome lenke,
and if I make my way to these waters,
So macht er mich von meinen Flecken leer.
they make me clean from my stains.

3) Aria [Tenor]
Viola solo, Continuo

Ergieße dich reichlich, du göttliche, Quelle
Pour yourself out abundantly, you divine spring,
Ach, walle mit blutigen Strömen auf mich!
ah!, flow over me with streams of blood!
Es fühlet mein Herze die tröstliche Stunde,
My heart feels the hour of consolation,
Nun sinken die drückenden Lasten zu Grunde,
now my crushing burdens sink to the ground,
Es wäschet die sündlichen Flecken von sich.
the stains of sin are washed away from me.

4) Recitativo [Alto] Oboe I, Continuo
Mein treuer Heiland tröstet mich,
My faithful saviour comforts me,
Es sei verscharrt in seinem Grabe,
buried in his grave
Was ich gesündigt habe;
are the sins I have committed;
Ist mein Verbrechen noch so groß,
however great my offence,
Er macht mich frei und los.
he sets me free and at liberty.
Wenn Gläubige die Zuflucht bei ihm finden,
If believers find refuge with him,
Muß Angst und Pein
anguish and suffering
Nicht mehr gefährlich sein
can present no more danger
Und alsobald verschwinden;
and soon disappear;
Ihr Seelenschatz, ihr höchstes Gut
Their soul’s treasure, their greatest good
Ist Jesu unschätzbares Blut;
is Jesus’ priceless blood;
Es ist ihr Schutz vor Teufel, Tod und Sünden,
This is their protection from the devil, death and sin,
In dem sie überwinden.
in this they are victorious.

5) Aria [Bass] Tromba, Oboe I/II, Violino I all' unisono, Violino II, Viola, Continuo
Verstumme, Höllenheer,
Be dumbfounded, you hosts of hell,
Du machst mich nicht verzagt!
you do not make me disheartened!
Ich darf dies Blut dir zeigen,
I have only to show this blood to you,
So musst du plötzlich schweigen,
and you have to be quiet at once,
Es ist in Gott gewagt.
my courage depends on God.
6) Recitative [Soprano] Continuo
Ich bin ja nur das kleinste Teil der Welt,
I am indeed only the smallest part of the world,
Und da des Blutes edler Saft
and since the noble sap of this blood
Unendlich große Kraft
Bewährt erhält,
contains infinitely great power
that has been tried and tested
Dass jeder Tropfen, so auch noch so klein,
so that each drop , however small,
Die ganze Welt kann rein
can make the whole world
Von Sünden machen,
pure from sins,
So lass dein Blut
then let your blood
Ja nicht an mir verderben,
not lose its power for me,
Es komme mir zugut,
may it benefit me
Dass ich den Himmel kann ererben.
so that I can inherit heaven.

7) Chorale [S, A, T, B] Violino I e Oboe I/II e Tromba da tirarsi col Soprano, Violino II coll'Alto, Viola col Tenore, Continuo
Führ auch mei Herz und Sinnn
Guide then my heart and mind
Durch deinen Geist dahin,
through your Spirit
Dass ich mög alles meiden,
so that I may avoid everything
Was mich und dich kann scheiden,
that can separate me and you
Und ich an deinem Leibe
and in your body
Ein Gliedmaß ewig bleibe.
may I always remain a member.
Note on the text:
Cantata for the 19th Sunday after Trinity, BWV 5, first performed on 15 October 1724. It belongs to Bach's ambitious cycle of chorale cantatas, each based on a unifying theme, which he produced at Leipzig in 1724-5. The autograph score, once in the collection of the Austrian essayist and poet Stefan Zweig (1881-1942), is now in the British Library. In common with all the chorale-based cantatas of Bach's second Leipzig cycle, the author of the text for this piece is unidentified. It derives from a hymn (1630) by the 17th-century writer Johann Heermann and, as usual with the chorale cantatas of this period, the librettist has included strophes in their original form in the opening and conclud­ing sections of the work. In the Dresden hymn schedules for this Sunday in Trinity, Heermann's text was listed under the heading 'Hymns Concerning Repentance and Confession' (G. Stiller: Johann Sebastian Bach and Liturgical Life in Leipzig (St Louis, Miss., 1970),246). The five intervening sections incorporate paraphrased strophes of Heermann's hymn. The Gospel appointed for the day (Matthew 9: 1-8) recounts the story of the man healed of the palsy and from this derives the central theme of the cantata, drawn both from the Gospel and from the hymn text itself: 'Thy sins be forgiven thee'.

(Information taken from Oxford Composer Companion: J S Bach)

The German Text: The English Translation is by Francis Browne: Both used by permission.