Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde, BWV 53

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Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde
by Melchior Hoffmann (likely)
Catalogue BWV 53; formerly attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach
Genre Aria
Language German

Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde (Haste to strike, oh longed for hour), BWV 53, is an aria for alto, probably for a funeral. It was attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach, but was not composed by him, but probably in Leipzig by Melchior Hoffmann, another composer of the 18th century.

History, text and scoring[edit]

The work on an anonymous German text was likely composed for a funeral service.[1][2] It has often been attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach, but Alfred Dürr did not include it in his 1971 book Die Kantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach, based on the Bach-Jahrbücher 1955; instead, he mentions Melchior Hoffmann as the likely author ("mit Wahrscheinlichkeit").[3] Hoffmann has not been confirmed and the date of the first performance is unknown.[2][4]

The text is written by an anonymous poet. It reflects the hour of death as desired. Translations have been "Haste to strike, oh longed for hour",[5] "Strike my hour, so long awaited", and "Strike then thou, O blessed hour".[2] In a middle section, the angels are asked to open heavenly meadows, to see Jesus soon ("Kommt, ihr Engel, … Öffnet mir die Himmelsauen, meinen Jesum bald zu schauen").[2] The aria is scored for alto, two violins, viola, cello, organ, and bells.[2] The bells may have been part of the organ itself.[6]


The aria is characterized by an obbligato bell duet.[7] Clifford Bartlett calls the bell knell "memorable and powerful".[8] Simon Crouch notes that "some of [the aria's] thematic material is suggestive of Bach but the accompanying bells would be unique amongst Bach's surviving output".[5]



  1. ^ "Cantata BWV 53". Bach Cantatas Website. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "BWV 53 Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde". University of Vermont. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  3. ^ Dürr, Alfred (1981). Die Kantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach (in German) 1 (4 ed.). Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag. pp. 723–724. ISBN 3-423-04080-7. 
  4. ^ "Cantata BWV 53 Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde". Bach Cantatas Website. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Crouch, Simon (1999). Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde (Haste to strike, oh longed for hour). Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  6. ^ Montagu, Jeremy (2002). Timpani and percussion. Yale University Press. p. 92. ISBN 978-0-300-09337-7. 
  7. ^ Lessner, Joanne Sydney. "Andreas Scholl: Bach Cantatas". Opera News 76 (10): 69–70. 
  8. ^ Bartlett, Clifford. "Andreas Scholl: Bach Cantatas". Decca Classics. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 

External links[edit]