Sunday, November 06, 2005

Bist du bei mir

Yesterday I ripped some Baroque tracks, and was struck by "Bist du bei mir" (Be thou with me), attributed to Bach in the 1720s. It was included in the Clavier-Büchlein for Anna Magdalena (his wife), catalogue number BWV 508.

A little research showed that it was actually written by a guy called Stölzel.

The piece is pleasant and moving and apparently a favourite at weddings and funerals. Only the latter is appropriate, as the words accompanying the music are as follows.

Bist du bei mir, geh' ich mit Freuden
Be thou with me, and I'll gladly go
zum Sterben und zu meiner Ruh'.
To death and to my repose.
Ach, wie vergnügt wär' so mein Ende,
Ah, how my end would bring contentment,
es drückten deine lieben [schönen] Hände
If, pressing with thy hands so lovely,
mir die getreuen Augen zu!
Thou wouldst my faithful eyes then close.

Another random fact: according to the Wikipedia article on famous people with Asperger's Syndrome, Glenn Gould, the famous Bach interpreter on piano apparently had an autism spectrum disorder. What is it with Bach and intellectuals?

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