Video: Wolf Matthias Friedrich Sings J.S. Bach

22

February
2011

The aria Wer bist du? from J.S. Bach’s cantata Bereitet die Wege, bereitet die Bahn! (“Prepare the paths, prepare the road!”) poses a straightforward question and demands that you make an assessment of yourself.

Who are you? Ask your conscience,
from which, without hypocrisy,
whether you, o human, are false or true,
you must hear the just pronouncement.
Who are you? Ask the law,
it will tell you, who you are,
a child of wrath in Satan’s trap,
a false and hypocritical Christian.

(Translation: Pamela Dellal)

Here’s a performance of the aria with bass Wolf Matthias Friedrich and the J.S. Bach-Stiftung, St. Gallen. Can you predict what character the music takes after reading the words above?

Watch:

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