Bist du bei mir

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"Bist du bei mir" (English: "If you are with me") (BWV 508) is an aria in the 1725 Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach (No. 25). It was therefore attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach, but the melody is part of the Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel opera Diomedes, oder die triumphierende Unschuld that was performed in Bayreuth on November 16, 1718. The opera score is lost. The aria had been part of the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin music library and was considered lost in World War II until it was rediscovered in 2000 in the Kiev Conservatory.[citation needed] The continuo part of BWV 508 is more agitated and continuous in its voice leading than the Stölzel aria; it is uncertain who provided it, as the entry in the Notebook is by Anna Magdalena Bach herself. In an essay in the Bach-Jahrbuch 2002, Andreas Glöckner speculates that either she obtained the song from the inventory of the Leipzig Opera that had gone bankrupt in 1720, or that it was simply a favourite known to nearly everyone in Leipzig that was particularly suitable for Hausmusik.[1]

The piece has become a very popular choice for wedding ceremonies and other such occasions.


    Alternative translation

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

If you are with me, then I will go gladly
unto [my] death and to my rest.
Ah, what a pleasant end for me,
if your dear hands be the last I see,
closing shut my faithful eyes to rest!

When thou are near, I go with joy
To death and to my rest.
O how joyous would my end be,
If your fair hands
Would close my faithful eyes.[3]

Notable recordings[edit]

The German-born Austrian/British soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf recorded the song accompanied by pianist Gerald Moore in 1954 at Abbey Road Studios, produced by Walter Legge.[4] The French soprano Natalie Dessay and the Mexican tenor Rolando Villazón recorded it in an arrangement for piano, violins, and cello by Philippe Rombi for the 2005 film Joyeux Noël.


  1. ^ Bach-Jahrbuch 2002, pp. 172–174. This and the previous details are from the Glöckner article.
  2. ^ "Bist du bei mir". 
  3. ^ Palmer, Willard A. Selections from Anna Magdalena's Notebook. Alfred Music. p. 47. ISBN 9781457442704. 
  4. ^ Elisabeth Schwarzkopf – Perfect Prima Donna, EMI Classics, Cat. 9184592, at ArkivMusic

External links[edit]