Saturday, 29 September 2012


“Rest: the sweet sauce of labour” - Plutarch

A restful day today, spent indoors as the weather was not for outings. A beautiful baroque song for Song Saturday today. Whether it is by Bach (as it has been attributed for many years) or whether it is by Stölzel (as recent research shows), it is a lovely aria. Here it is sung by Plácido Domingo and Sissel Kyrkjebø.

Bist du bei mir, geh ich mit Freuden
Zum Sterben und zu meiner Ruh.
Ach, wie vergnügt wär so mein Ende,
Es drückten deine schönen Hände
Mir die getreuen Augen zu.

When thou art near, I go with joy
To death and to my rest.
O how pleasant would my end be,
If your fair hands
Would close my faithful eyes.

“Bist du bei mir” (BWV 508) is an aria in the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach. It was therefore attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach, but the melody is part of the Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel opera “Diomedes, oder die triumphierende Unschuld” that was performed in Bayreuth on November 16, 1718. The opera score is lost. The aria had been part of the Berlin Singakademie music library and was considered lost in the Second World War, until it was rediscovered in 2000 in the Kiev Conservatory. The continuo part of BWV 508 is more agitated and continuous in its voice leading than the Stölzel aria; it is uncertain who provided it, as the entry in the Notebook is by Anna Magdalena Bach herself. In an essay in the Bach-Jahrbuch 2002, Andreas Glöckner speculates that either she obtained the song from the inventory of the Leipzig Opera that had gone bankrupt in 1720, or that it simply was a favourite known to nearly everybody in Leipzig that was particularly suitable for Hausmusik.

1 comment:

  1. loved the trivia you give nick...have always loved the song....