October 23, 2017

Easter III: Pic & Cantata of the Week

Sheep May Safely Graze

(Click on picture for larger image)

Psalm 23 is perhaps the most loved text in the Hebrew Bible. For this Sunday in Easter, Bach wrote three cantatas on the theme of the Good Shepherd, including BWV 112, Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt (The Lord is my faithful shepherd), his setting of the 23rd Psalm. Today, we feature samples of three central movements in this cantata.

Here is the lovely alto aria, “He leads me to pure water.”

A darker bass recitative follows: “And though I wander in the dark valley.”

This leads to a triumphant statement of trust in the penultimate duet:

You prepare for me a table
before my enemies on all sides,
you make my heart undismayed and fresh,
you anoint my head for me
and you pour out fully in my soul
your spiritual joy.

Here is the entire English text of this wonderful cantata:

The Lord is my faithful shepherd
he holds me in his protection,
where there is nothing lacking to me
at all of any goodness,
he puts me out to pasture continually
where grows the sweet-tasting grass
of his holy word.

He leads me to pure water
that brings me refreshment.
It is his holy spirit
that makes me cheerful.
He guides me on the right road
of his commandments without ceasing
on account of his name’s sake.

And though I wander in the dark valley
I fear no misfortune
in persecution, suffering, sorrow
and the spiteful malice of this world,
for you are with me constantly
your rod and staff comfort me,
I rely on your word.

You prepare for me a table
before my enemies on all sides,
you make my heart undismayed and fresh,
you anoint my head for me
and you pour out fully in my soul
your spiritual joy.

Goodness and mercy
follow me through my life
and I shall remain forever
in the house of the Lord,
on earth in Christian company
and after my death I shall be there
with Christ my Lord.

• • •

Text by Wolfgang Meuslin, after Psalm 23

Comments

  1. Susan Dumbrell says:

    In a deep valley
    stones my pillow, earth my bed
    Jesus rescue me

  2. Green Gunpowder tea
    Mate’ and Guyusa plus
    Irish Breakfast black

  3. And on the seventh day God rested.

    Haiku writers, go thou and do likewise.

  4. Anyone give Bach a try yet? Believe me, it’s gorgeous.

  5. Charles Fine, you are assuming things for which you have no evidence. I forgive you, because that is what my Savior would do. As a matter of fact, I happen to enjoy Bach and all manner of classical music, and the translation of the lyrics based on the 23rd Psalm is sublime. Let us not argue; it is Eastertide.

  6. I always enjoy Robert’s Haikus, they are like taking a walk this time of year and, oh!, there’s another little springtime flower reaching for the sun, hello and welcome, blessed be. Where else could you find a Haiku Master offering sparkling glimpses of God amongst the ongoing squabbles and pontifications, bright moments to help us thru the day? And Susan holds her own with little blooms of a distant land, keeping the world in balance as it turns. But rejoice, you don’t have to be world class here, no jury to be found inside the outer limits, anyone with a box of crayons and a piece of paper can go up on the refrigerator door, much like the grace of God. Robert and Susan and Bach in the sunny Heartland countryside, Happy Sunday!