Bist Du bei mir

Concert Band

Bist Du bei mir
If Thou Be Near

Aria BWV 508

Concert Piece, Chorale, Sacred Music
Grade Level:
Performance time:
Full Score + Parts
Order Number:
Release Date:


The universal genius Johann Sebastian Bach ist still arousing admiration today and there is no composer, no musician that could get around his legacy. There is no composer whose works have been understood and interpreted so differentially and have been adapted so often for contemporary taste.

„Bist Du bei mir“ (If Thou Be Near) is taken from the Second Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach. She married the widowed Bach 1721 in Köthen and gave up her career as singer. She cared for his four children of his first marriage and gave birth to 13 own children of whom 7 died at very young age. Anna Magdalena outlived her husband 10 years and died 1760 as depleted widow in Leipzig .

„Bist Du bei mir“ is one of the most touching compositions in musical history. The text was written by an unknown poet. Bach fervently set the words into music:

„Bist du bei mir, geh’ ich mit Freuden
zum Sterben und zu meiner Ruh’.
Ach, wie vergnügt wär’ so mein Ende,
es drückten deine lieben schönen Hände
mir die getreuen Augen zu!“

English translation:

If thou be 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.

Bach began to write the Notebook in 1725, collecting arias and songs that are listed as numbers 508 to 518 in the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (BWV). According to newer sources, BWV 508 „Bist Du bei mir“ (If Thou Be Near) traces back to a setting by Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel (1690-1749).

Media Center

VIDEO 01.06.2015

Bist du bei mir (Johann S. Bach / arr. Siegfried Rundel)

"Bist du bei mir" von Johann S. Bach, in der Bearbeitung von Siegfried Rundel und gespielt von der BläserPhilharmonie Ostwestfalen-Lippe unter der Leitung von Thiemo ...


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