Es reißet euch ein schrecklich Ende, BWV 90

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Es reißet euch ein schrecklich Ende
BWV 90
Church cantata by J. S. Bach
Woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, depicting Tribulation, the topic of the gospel
Occasion 25th Sunday after Trinity
Performed 14 November 1723 (1723-11-14): Leipzig
Movements 5
Cantata text anonymous
Chorale by Martin Moller

Es reißet euch ein schrecklich Ende (A horrible end will carry you off),[1] BWV 90,[a] is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in Leipzig for the 25th Sunday after Trinity and first performed it on 14 November 1723.

History and words[edit]

Bach composed the cantata in his first year in Leipzig for the 25th Sunday after Trinity. The prescribed readings for the Sunday were from the First Epistle to the Thessalonians, the coming of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18), and from the Gospel of Matthew, the Tribulation (Matthew 24:25–28).[2] The closing chorale is the seventh stanza of Martin Moller's hymn "Nimm von uns, Herr, du treuer Gott" (1584),[3] sung to the melody of "Vater unser im Himmelreich".[4]

Bach first performed the cantata on 14 November 1723.[2]

Scoring and structure[edit]

The cantata in five movements is scored for three vocal soloists—alto, tenor and bass—a four-part choir only in the closing chorale, trumpet, two violins, viola, and basso continuo.[2]

  1. Aria (tenor): Es reißet euch ein schrecklich Ende
  2. Recitative (alto): Des Höchsten Güte wird von Tag zu Tage neu
  3. Aria (bass): So löschet im Eifer der rächende Richter
  4. Recitative (tenor): Doch Gottes Auge sieht auf uns
  5. Chorale: Leit uns mit deiner rechten Hand


The cantata's two arias "paint a dismal picture", as Klaus Hofmann remarks. The opening tenor aria is "expressively highly intense" for both the singer and the violins, illustrating "reißet" (tears).[5] John Eliot Gardiner, who calls the cantata "magnificently theatrical and terse", notes: "Bach seems, in fact, to be taking on his entire generation of Italian opera composers and beating them at their own game. The unflagging energy of his melodic invention and rhythmic propulsion is always directed towards giving truthful expression to the text, and here it is as matchless as it is exciting".[6] The following recitative first states in great contrast that "God's goodness is renewed every day", but then reflects "despair at human failings".[7] The second aria, "So löschet im Eifer der rächende Richter" (Extinguish with haste will the judge in his vengeance) is sung by the bass, with "added emphasis by the presence of the trumpet."[8] The instrument is meant to be the one calling for the Last Judgement, as mentioned in the epistle reading.[5] The last recitative finally turns to the thought that "God's eye looks upon us as the chosen ones".[7] The closing chorale is a four-part setting.[5]

Selected recordings[edit]


  1. ^ "BWV" is Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis, a thematic catalogue of Bach's works.


  1. ^ Dellal, Pamela. "BWV 90 – "Es reißet euch ein schrecklich Ende"". Emmanuel Music. Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Dürr, Alfred (1981). Die Kantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach (in German). 1 (4 ed.). Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag. pp. 523–524. ISBN 3-423-04080-7. 
  3. ^ "Nimm von uns, Herr, du treuer Gott / Text and Translation of Chorale". Bach Cantatas Website. 2005. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "Chorale Melodies used in Bach's Vocal Works / Vater unser im Himmelreich". Bach Cantatas Website. 2009. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c Hofmann, Klaus (2000). "Es reißet euch ein schrecklich Ende, BWV 90" (PDF). Bach Cantatas Website. p. 9. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  6. ^ Gardiner, John Eliot (2005). "Cantatas for the Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity / Erlöserkirche, Potsdam" (PDF). Bach Cantatas Website. p. 3. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Mincham, Julian (2010). "Chapter 27 BWV 90 Es reisset euch ein schrecklich Ende / You will be swept away with a terrible ending.". The Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach. Retrieved 23 November 2011. 
  8. ^ Wolff, Christoph (1998). "On the first cycle of Bach's cantatas for the Leipzig liturgy 1724–25 (III)" (PDF). Bach Cantatas Website. p. 16. Retrieved 21 November 2012.