Ich lebe, mein Herze, zu deinem Ergötzen

BWV 145 // For the Third day of Easter

(I live now, my spirit, to thy purest pleasure) for soprano, tenor and bass, oboe d’amore I+II, transverse flute, trumpets, strings and basso continuo

J.S. Bach-Stiftung Kantate BWV 145


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Reflective lecture
Bonus material

«Lutzogram» for the introductory workshop

Rudolf Lutz’s manuscript for the workshop
Download (PDF)


The sound recording of this work is available on several streaming and download platforms.






Johannette Zomer

Alexandra Rawohl

Colin Balzer

Matthias Helm


Conductor & harpsichord
Rudolf Lutz

Renate Steinmann, Olivia Schenkel, Claire Foltzer, Elisabeth Kohler, Marita Seeger, Salome Zimmermann

Martin Zeller

Markus Bernhard

Patrick Henrichs

Transverse flute
Tomoko Mukoyama

Oboe d’amore
Andreas Helm, Philipp Wagner

Susann Landert

Nicola Cumer

Musical director & conductor

Rudolf Lutz


Rudolf Lutz, Pfr. Niklaus Peter

Reflective lecture

Sr. Manuela Schreiner

Recording & editing

Recording date

Recording location
ev. Kirche St. Mangen // St. Gallen

Sound engineer
Stefan Ritzenthaler, Nikolaus Matthes

Meinrad Keel

Production manager
Johannes Widmer

GALLUS MEDIA AG, Switzerland

J.S. Bach Foundation of St. Gallen, Switzerland

About the work


First performance
19 April 1729, Leipzig


Christian Friedrich Henrici (Picander), Leipzig, 1728/32

  • Movement a (added later for a performance on Easter Day): Caspar Neumann (Breslau, around 1700)
  • Movement b (added later from TWV 1:1350 for a performance on Easter Day); Romans 10:9
  • Movement 5: Nikolaus Herman (1560)

In-depth analysis

The historical sources passed down as well as the stylistic features of cantata BWV 145 render it one of the most puzzling compositions included in the performance practice of Bach’s oeuvre: unresolved issues about the work’s authorship and whether it is even complete abound. The two editions of the libretto printed in 1728/29 by Picander, Bach’s “house poet” in Leipzig, certainly indicate a proximity to Bach’s work. Nevertheless, the extant manuscript stems from the 19th century and is thought to be associated with Carl Friedrich Zelter’s choir academy in Berlin; this version prefaces Picander’s five-movement libretto with two additional movements that can be traced to Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (chorale movement “Auf, mein Herz”) and Georg Philipp Telemann (chorus movement “So du mit deinem Munde”, from a cantata of the same name), thus providing evidence of an arrangement from the late 18th century. Furthermore, obvious disparities in musical style even among the five movements set to the Picander text cast doubt on Bach’s sole authorship, making it conceivable that the Thomascantor prepared the work for performance together with a student – for example the young Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Indeed, this is no far-fetched assumption: the limited number of surviving settings of what is known as the “Picander cycle” by Bach senior has led Peter Wollny and other Bach scholars to posit that the work was distributed among various composers.

In its traditional form, the cantata begins with the chorale setting “Auf, mein Herz, des Herren Tag” (Rise, my heart, the Lord’s own day). Although the setting was included by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach in a publication of his father’s four-part chorales, the work has since been proven to be written by the son, which corresponds to the music’s somewhat plainer style. The Telemann chorus “So du mit deinem Munde bekennest Jesum” (If thou with thine own mouth dost acknowledge Jesus) originates from an Easter cantata of the same name (TWV 1:1350) composed in 1723. Set in two parts, it opens with a charming sopranoalto duet followed by a vivace choral fugue, which, thanks to its obbligato trumpet part (and despite some breathless melodic writing and static cadences) generates considerable musical energy.

The actual Picander setting opens with the duet “Ich lebe, mein Herze” (I live now, my spirit) featuring a violin obbligato part. Considering the setting’s somewhat eager manner, it is not unreasonable to think it a parody of a secular work from Bach’s Cöthen period or perhaps the work – at least partially – of a younger composer emulating Bach’s style. The following tenor recitative “Nun fordre Moses, wie du willt” (Now order, Moses, as thou wilt) bids adieu with a decisive gesture to the “dräuende Gesetz” (threatening law) of the Old Covenant; the moving adagio passage “Mein Herz, das merke dir” (My heart, remember this) is particularly typical of Bach’s recitative style. By contrast, the following bass aria – the only setting of the five Picander movements to employ the score’s full instrumentation, including trumpet, transverse flute and two oboes d’amore – leaves an oddly inconsistent impression. While some passages (such as the harmonically interesting conclusion to the introductory ritornello) are convincingly Bachian in style, the simple opening unison figure and occasionally hesitant progressions seem somewhat incomplete – an impression that does not, however, impede the effect of the lecturing bass part. In the following recitative, the soprano returns to proclaim how solace and the strength to renounce earthly pleasures is found in the life and resurrection of Jesus. Finally, the closing chorale, which with its archaic, Early Reformation melody stands in clear contrast to the galant style of the arias and the Telemann chorus, seems to only reinforce the idiosyncratic nature of this pasticcio cantata.

It is clear that the later additions to the Picander version were made with an eye to improving the work’s structural balance and, in particular, to make better use of its full orchestration. Inspired by the fact that it would have been entirely atypical of Bach to open a cantata with a four-part chorale setting, but that Picander’s libretto nevertheless in no way precludes the work from being preceded by a sinfonia (as for instance in cantata BWV 42), Rudolf Lutz, as part of his musical analysis and preparation for the performance, composed a short three-section instrumental movement. Written in the style of an overture and featuring various baroque topoi, this new composition introduces the probable torso of the work into a coherent form – an alternative arrangement that we also offer in this recording for discussion.


Erste Aufführung

a) Choral (BWV 145/1)

Auf, mein Herz, des Herren Tag
hat die Nacht der Furcht vertrieben:
Christus, der im Grabe lag,
ist im Tode nicht geblieben.
Nunmehr bin ich recht getröst,
Jesus hat die Welt erlöst.

b) Chor (Georg Philipp Telemann, aus der Kantate TWV 1:1350)

«So du mit deinem Munde bekennest Jesum,
dass er der Herr sei, und gläubest in
deinem Herzen, dass ihn Gott von den Toten
auferwecket hat, so wirst du selig.»

Es folgen: Nummern 1 – 5

Zweite Aufführung

a) Sinfonia zu BWV 145 (Rudolf Lutz)

Es folgen: Nummern 1 – 5

1. Arie — Duett
(Jesus: Tenor, Seele: Sopran)

Ich lebe, mein Herze, zu deinem Ergötzen,
mein Leben erhebet dein Leben empor.

Du lebest, mein Jesu, zu meinem Ergötzen,
dein Leben erhebet mein Leben empor.
Die klagende Handschrift ist völlig zerrißen,
der Friede verschaffet ein ruhig Gewißen
und öffnet den Sündern das himmlische Tor.

2. Rezitativ — Tenor

Nun fordre, Moses, wie du willt,
das dräuende Gesetz zu üben,
ich habe meine Quittung hier
mit Jesu Blut und Wunden unterschrieben.
Dieselbe gilt,
ich bin erlöst, ich bin befreit
und lebe nun mit Gott in Fried und Einigkeit,
der Kläger wird an mir zuschanden,
denn Gott ist auferstanden.
Mein Herz, das merke dir!

3. Arie — Bass

Merke, mein Herze, beständig nur dies,
wenn du alles sonst vergißt,
daß dein Heiland lebend ist;
merke, mein Herze, beständig nur dies.
Lasse dieses deinem Gläuben
einen Grund und Feste bleiben,
auf solchem besteht er gewiß.
Merke, meine Herze, merke nur dies!

4. Rezitativ — Sopran

Mein Jesus lebt,
das soll mir niemand nehmen,
drum sterb ich sonder Grämen.
Ich bin gewiß
und habe das Vertrauen,
daß mich des Grabes Finsternis
zur Himmelsherrlichkeit erhebt;
mein Jesus lebt,
ich habe nun genug,
mein Herz und Sinn
will heute noch zum Himmel hin,
selbst den Erlöser anzuschauen.

5. Choral

Drum wir auch billig fröhlich sein,
singen das Halleluja fein
und loben dich, Herr Jesu Christ;
zu Trost du uns erstanden bist.

Bibliographical references

All libretti sourced from Neue Bach-Ausgabe. Johann Sebastian Bach. Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke, published by the Johann-Sebastian-Bach-Institut Göttingen and the Bach-Archiv Leipzig, Series I (Cantatas), vol. 1–41, Kassel and Leipzig, 1954–2000.
All in-depth analyses by Anselm Hartinger (English translations/editing by Alice Noger-Gradon/Mary Carozza) based on the following sources:  Hans-Joachim Schulze, Die Bach-Kantaten. Einführungen zu sämtlichen Kantaten Johann Sebastian Bachs, Leipzig, 2nd edition, 2007; Alfred Dürr, Johann Sebastian Bach. Die Kantaten, Kassel, 9th edition, 2009, and Martin Petzoldt, Bach-Kommentar. Die geistlichen Kantaten, Stuttgart, vol. 1, 2nd edition, 2005 and vol. 2, 1st edition, 2007.

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