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

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Title: Herr, wie du willt, so schicks mit mir, BWV 73  
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Subject: List of Bach cantatas by liturgical function, Monteverdi Choir, Peter Kooy
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Herr, wie du willt, so schicks mit mir, BWV 73

Herr, wie du willt, so schicks mit mir (Lord, do with me as You will), BWV 73, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in 1724 in Leipzig for the third Sunday after Epiphany and first performed it on 23 January 1724.

History and words

Bach wrote the cantata in his first year in Leipzig for the

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.[1]

Scoring and structure

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.[1]

  1. Chorale e recitativo (tenor, bass, soprano): Herr, wie du willt, so schicks mit mir
  2. Aria (tenor, oboe): Ach senke doch den Geist der Freuden
  3. Recitativo (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 chorale 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 ritornell, while the horn and the strings continue the motif. In the final repeat of the ritornell 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), 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.[1] 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.[4]

The closing chorale[5] is set for four parts.[1]

Selected recordings



The first source is the score.

General sources are found for the Bach cantatas. Several databases provide additional information on each single cantata:

  • Cantata BWV 73 Herr, wie du willt, so schicks mit mir history, scoring, sources for text and music, translations to various languages, discography, discussion, bach-cantatas website
  • Emmanuel Music
  • Herr, wie du willt, so schicks mit mir history, scoring, Bach website (German)
  • University of Vermont
  • University of Alberta
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