Herr, wie du willt, so schicks mit mir, BWV 73

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Herr, wie du willt, so schicks mit mir
BWV 73
Thomaskirche, Leipzig
OccasionThird Sunday after Epiphany
Performed23 January 1724 (1724-01-23): Leipzig
Cantata text
Bible textMatthew 8:2
  • SATB choir
  • solo: soprano, tenor and bass
  • horn
  • 2 oboes
  • 2 violins
  • viola
  • continuo

Herr, wie du willt, so schicks mit mir (Lord, as you will, so let it be done with me),[1] BWV 73,[a] is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it for the third Sunday after Epiphany and first performed it in 1724 in Leipzig on 23 January 1724. It was probably composed shortly before the first performance.[2]

History and words[edit]

Bach arrived in Leipzig in 1723. He set about composing a series of cantatas for performance in the city's principal churches through the liturgical year. This one was written for the Third Sunday after Epiphany.[3] The prescribed readings for the Sunday were taken from the Epistle to the Romans, rules for life (Romans 12:17–21), and from the Gospel of Matthew, the healing of a leper (Matthew 8:1–13). The unknown poet takes the words of the leper "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean" as a starting point and recommends his attitude of trust for the situation of facing death. In the first movement he contrasts lines of Kaspar Bienemann's chorale "Herr, wie du willst, so schick's mit mir"[4] with three sections of recitative. Movement 3 paraphrases Jeremiah 17:9. The words of movement 4 are the leper's words from the Gospel. The closing chorale is the final stanza of Ludwig Helmbold's hymn "Von Gott will ich nicht lassen".[3][5]

Bach first performed the cantata on 23 January 1724, and performed it again in a revised version on 21 January 1748 or 26 January 1749.[3]

The music was published in 1870 as part of the Bach-Gesellschaft-Ausgabe, an edition of the composer's complete works. The editor was Wilhelm Rust.[2]

Scoring and structure[edit]

The cantata in five movements is scored for soprano, tenor and bass soloists, a four-part choir, horn (replaced by organ in the revised version), two oboes, two violins, viola, and basso continuo.[3]

  1. Chorus and recitative (tenor, bass, soprano): Herr, wie du willt, so schicks mit mir
  2. Aria (tenor): Ach senke doch den Geist der Freuden
  3. Recitative (bass): Ach, unser Wille bleibt verkehrt
  4. Aria (bass): Herr, so du willt
  5. Chorale: Das ist des Vaters Wille


The opening chorus is based on the first stanza of the hymn "Herr, wie du willt, so schicks mit mir", which is expanded by recitatives of the three soloists. A four-note motif on the words "Herr, wie du willt" is introduced by the horn and repeated throughout the movement. The accompagnato recitatives for all soloists are accompanied by the oboes with material from the ritornello, while the horn and the strings continue the motif. In the final repeat of the ritornello the choir sings the motif, and repeats it in a final "cadenza".

In movement 3 the will of man is described as "bald trotzig, bald verzagt" (quickly contrary, quickly dashed),[1] illustrated in the melody. Movement 4 begins without a ritornello. The unusual three stanzas, all beginning with the words "Herr, so du willt", are delivered as free variations and closed by a coda. Similar to movement 1, a motif on "Herr, so du willt" opens and is repeated throughout the movement, finally in the coda.[3] This motif is the beginning of the famous aria Bist du bei mir from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach, long attributed to Bach, but written by Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel.[6]

The melody of the closing chorale[7] (with the incipit "Das ist des Vaters Wille") is based on the French popular song "Une jeune fillette".



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


  1. ^ a b Dellal, Pamela. "BWV 73 – Herr, wie du willt, so schicks mit mir". Emmanuel Music. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  2. ^ a b Herr, wie du willt, so schicks mit mir, BWV 73: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)
  3. ^ a b c d e Dürr, Alfred (1981). Die Kantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach (in German). 1 (4 ed.). Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag. pp. 186–189. ISBN 3-423-04080-7.
  4. ^ "Herr, wie du willst, so schick's mit mir / Text and Translation of Chorale". Bach Cantatas Website. 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  5. ^ "Von Gott will ich nicht lassen / Text and Translation of Chorale". Bach Cantatas Website. 2010. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  6. ^ Mincham, Julian (2010). "Chapter 38 BWV 73 Mein Gott, wie lang, ach lange". jsbachcantatas.com. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  7. ^ "Chorale Melodies used in Bach's Vocal Works / Von Gott will ich nicht lassen". Bach Cantatas Website. 2006. Retrieved 18 January 2011.