Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid

Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid

Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid (Oh God, how much heartache), BWV 3, is a cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach.

It was written in Leipzig for the second Sunday after Epiphany, and was first performed on 14 January, 1725. It is based on a chorale of the same name by Martin Moller.

The piece is written for two oboes d'amore, trombone, strings (violins, violas and basso continuo), vocal soloists and choir. It is in six movements, in A major unless otherwise noted:

  1. Chorus: "Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid" - a gapped chorale setting of the tune. The soprano, alto and tenor voices sing free counterpoint, while the basses sing the chorale unadorned in long notes.
  2. Chorale and recitative: "Wie schwerlich läßt sich Fleisch und Blut" ("How difficult it is for flesh and blood") - for four soloists, chorus and continuo (D major modulating to A major).
  3. Aria: "Empfind ich Höllenangst und Pein" ("If I feel fear of Hell and torment") - for bass voice and continuo (F-sharp minor).
  4. Recitative: "Es mag mir Leib und Geist verschmachten" ("My body and spirit may languish") - for tenor and continuo (E major).
  5. Duetto: "Wenn Sorgen auf mich dringen" ("When worries oppress me") - for soprano, alto, oboes d'amore, violin and continuo (E major).
  6. Chorale: "Erhalt mein Herz im Glauben rein" ("Maintain my heart pure in the Faith") - the last verse of the chorale, sung and played by the whole ensemble.

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