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Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben, BWV 102

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Title: Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben, BWV 102  
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Subject: Benjamin Britten, List of Bach cantatas by liturgical function, Monteverdi Choir
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Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben, BWV 102

Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben ("Lord, Your eyes look for faith"), BWV 102, is a church cantata written by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1726 in Leipzig for the tenth Sunday after Trinity, first performed on 25 August 1726.

History and text

The cantata of Bach's third annual cycle in Leipzig was written for the tenth Sunday after Trinity.[1] The prescribed readings for the Sunday were from the First Epistle to the Corinthians, different gifts, but one spirit (1 Corinthians 12:1–11), and from the Gospel of Luke, Jesus announcing the destruction of Jerusalem and cleansing of the Temple (Luke 19:41–48). The words of the cantata are only generally connected to the readings, asking the soul to return immediately to God's ways. Two movements are based on Bible words, the opening chorus on Jeremiah 5:3, movement 4 on Romans 2:4–5. The cantata is closed by verses 6 and 7 of the chorale So wahr ich lebe, spricht dein Gott of Johann Heermann (1630).[1] The words of the free poetry have been attributed to different authors: C.S. Terry suggests Christian Weiss Sr, Werner Neumann suggests Christiana Mariana von Ziegler, and Walther Blankenburg suggests Christoph Helm.

Bach first performed the cantata on 25 August 1726 and again around 1737.[1]

Scoring and structure

The cantata is scored for alto, tenor and bass soloists and a four-part choir, flauto traverso, two oboes, two violins, viola, and basso continuo. The seven movements are structured in two parts, part two to be performed after the sermon, in an unusual way not opened by the Bible words of movement 4.

1. Chor: Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben
2. Recitativo (bass): Wo ist das Ebenbild, das Gott uns eingepräget
3. Aria (alto, oboe): Weh der Seele, die den Schaden nicht mehr kennt
4. Arioso (bass): Verachtest du den Reichtum seiner Gnade
Parte seconda
5. Aria (tenor, flute or violin): Erschrecke doch, du allzu sichre Seele
6. Recitativo (alto, oboes): Beim Warten ist Gefahr
7. Choral: Heut lebst du, heut bekehre dich


The opening chorus is a mature work containing an intricate combination of instrumental and vocal parts and a variety of expressive devices depicting the words. The opening sinfonia is in two parts which are repeated separately and together throughout the movement. The words Herr, deine Augen are repeated three times.[2] Bach used the music for the Kyrie of his Missa in G minor.[3]

The bass voice in movement 4, marked Arioso by Bach himself, is treated similar to the vox Christi, the voice of Jesus in Bach's Passions and cantatas.[1] The bass part has been recorded by singers who do not specialise in Baroque music, such as Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau with conductor Benjamin Britten at the Aldeburgh Festival.[4]




The first source is the score.

Several databases provide additional information on each cantata:

  • Cantata BWV 102 Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben! history, scoring, sources for text and music, translations to various languages, discography, discussion, bach-cantatas website
  • Emmanuel Music
  • Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben history, scoring, Bach website (German)
  • University of Vermont
  • University of Alberta
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