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Bach Cantata Listener's Guide

Bleib'bei uns, denn es will Abend werden (Stay with us, for it is nearly evening)

Cantata 6

  • Easter Monday
  • Epistle: Acts x. 34-41 (Peter preaches to Cornelius)
  • Gospel: Luke xxiv. 13-35 (Christ appears on the road to Emmaus)
  • Rating: 1

BWV 6 starts off with a wonderful chorus whose gently descending theme may bring to mind that great final chorus (Ruht wohl, ihr heiligen Gebeine) from the St. John Passion. The context is that of the Gospel reading, Christ appearing to two of the disciples after the crucifixion. This is something very special. An alto aria with sinuous and delightful oboe da caccia accompaniment follows and then the soprano sings the accompanied chorale melody that later became the fifth Schubler Chorale, BWV 649. I prefer this version, in which the violoncello piccolo takes a prominent role, to that on the organ. The attractive final aria or tenor is accompanied by a virtuoso violin part. The cantata draws to a close with a straightforward setting of the chorale.

Like the St. John Passion, I have never heard a performance of this cantata that has fully satisfied me. There always seems to be something missing and I have ended up feeling that there must be much more in the music than I have just heard. Of the recordings that I know, that of Rilling comes closest to being acceptable.

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.