Video: Klaus Mertens Sings J.S. Bach

21

February
2011

Klaus Mertens (screenshot)

People are often surprised to hear Johann Sebastian Bach‘s aria Bist du bei mir, BWV 508, at both weddings and funerals.

The melancholy nature of the piece surely lends itself better for the latter.

However, once you know the words, the aria—found in Bach’s “Notebook for Anna Magdalena”—can be used for either event.

If you are with me, then I will go gladly
unto [my] death and to my rest.

Ah, what a pleasant end for me,
if your dear hands be the last I see,
closing shut my faithful eyes to rest!

(Translation: Wikipedia)

And while we know it as a composition by Bach, the melody is actually by a contemporary of his, Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel.

Here’s a video with an unusually lovely performance by Klaus Mertens, baritone, and Ton Koopman, chamber organ.

Watch:

Learn more: Klaus Mertens Biography

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