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Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut, BWV 199

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Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut, BWV 199

Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut
BWV 199
Solo church cantata by J. S. Bach
Occasion Eleventh Sunday after Trinity
Performed 12 August 1714 (1714-08-12) – Weimar
Movements 8
Cantata text Georg Christian Lehms
Chorale by Johann Heermann
Vocal soprano
  • oboe
  • 2 violins
  • viola
  • violoncello piccolo (Leipzig)
  • continuo with bassoon and violone

Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut (English: My heart swims in blood)[1] BWV 199,[1] is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed the solo cantata for soprano in Weimar between 1711 and 1714, and performed it on the eleventh Sunday after Trinity, 12 August 1714.

The text was written by Neue Bach-Ausgabe.


  • History and words 1
  • Scoring and structure 2
  • Music 3
    • 1 3.1
    • 2 3.2
    • 3 3.3
    • 4 3.4
    • 5 3.5
    • 6 3.6
    • 7 3.7
    • 8 3.8
  • Selected recordings 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6
  • Sources 7
  • External links 8

History and words

On 2 March 1714 Bach was appointed concertmaster of the Weimar court orchestra (Kapelle) of the co-reigning dukes

External links

  • Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut, BWV 199: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project
  • "Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut (Weimarer Fassung) BWV 199; BC A 120a / Sacred cantata (11th Sunday after Trinity)".  
  • "Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut (Köthen version) BWV 199; BC A 120b / Sacred cantata (11th Sunday after Trinity)".  
  • "Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut (Leipzig version) BWV 199; BC A 120c / Sacred cantata (11th Sunday after Trinity)".  
  • Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut history, scoring, Bach website (German)
  • BWV 199 Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut English translation, University of Vermont


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m  
  2. ^ Koster, Jan. "Weimar 1708–1717". Retrieved 16 December 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n  
  4. ^ a b Oron, Aryeh. "Cantata BWV 199 Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut". Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Wo soll ich fliehen hin / Text and Translation of Chorale". 2005. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Dürr, Alfred; Jones, Richard D. P. (2006). The Cantatas of J. S. Bach: With Their Librettos in German-English Parallel Text.  
  7. ^ Isoyama, Tadeshi. "BWV 199: Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut (My heart swims in blood)" (PDF). pp. 4–5. Retrieved 4 August 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Mincham, Julian (2010). "Chapter 14 BWV 199 Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut / My heart is swimming in blood.". Retrieved 4 Aug 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Bischof, Walter F. "BWV 199 Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut". University of Alberta. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  10. ^ Grob, Jochen (2014). "BWV 199 / BC A 120c" (in German). Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  11. ^ "Chorale Melodies used in Bach's Vocal Works / Wo soll ich fliehen hin / Auf meinen lieben Gott". 2008. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 


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


Recordings of Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut, BWV 199
Title Conductor / Choir / Orchestra Soloists Label Year Orch. type
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf: The Unpublished EMI Recordings 1955–1958 – Bach & Mozart Dart, ThurstonThurston Dart
Philharmonia Orchestra
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf EMI 1968 (1968) Symphony
Bach Cantatas Vol. 4 – Sundays after Trinity I Richter, KarlKarl Richter
Münchener Bach-Orchester
Edith Mathis Archiv Produktion 1972 (1972) Bach
Die Bach Kantate Vol. 48 Rilling, HelmuthHelmuth Rilling
Bach-Collegium Stuttgart
Arleen Augér Hänssler 1976 (1976) Bach
J. S. Bach: Cantatas BWV 202 · 82a · 199 Debart, DominiqueDominique Debart
L'Ensemble de Basse-Normandie
Teresa Żylis-Gara Rudolphe 1986 (1986) Chamber
J. S. Bach: Das Kantatenwerk · Complete Cantatas · Les Cantates, Folge / Vol. 45 Harnoncourt, NikolausNikolaus Harnoncourt
Concentus Musicus Wien
Barbara Bonney Teldec 1989 (1989) Period
J. S. Bach: Complete Cantatas Vol. 2 Koopman, TonTon Koopman
Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
Barbara Schlick Antoine Marchand 1995 Period
J. S. Bach: Cantata BWV 199 Mein Herze schwimmt in Blut Weil, BrunoBruno Weil
Carmel Bach Festival Orchestra
Rosa Lamoreaux Jonathan Wentworth 1998 Bach
Bach Edition Vol. 5 – Cantatas Vol. 3 Leusink, Pieter JanPieter Jan Leusink
Netherlands Bach Collegium
Ruth Holton Brilliant Classics 1999 (1999) Period
Bach Cantatas Gardiner, John EliotJohn Eliot Gardiner
English Baroque Soloists
Magdalena Kožená Archiv Produktion 2000 (2000) Period

The work has been recorded often, both by Bach specialists and others. The sortable listing is taken from the selection provided by Aryeh Oron on the Bach-Cantatas website, which lists 54 recordings as of 2015.[4] A red background colour roughly designates a large orchestra, green an ensemble playing on period instruments in historically informed performance.

Selected recordings

This cantata, expressed throughout in the first person, is highly personal. It makes a clear and dramatic journey from the cesspools of sinful misery to the euphoria of redemption and salvation. It has no trumpets, horns or drums to drive its message home; they are not needed within this highly private context."[8]

The final aria, "Wie freudig ist mein Herz" ("How joyful is my heart"),[1] expresses joy as a cheerful gigue, with a long coloratura on "fröhlich" (joyful).[3][8] It is comparable to the gigues in Bach's French Suites. Mincham concludes:


The last recitative, "Ich lege mich in diese Wunden" ("I lay myself on these wounds"),[1] introduces a different mood;[3] the final measures are a "soaring melisma", a "joyously uplifting prelude" to the last movement.[8]


Bach used a rather unusual melody by Caspar von Stieler, whereas he based his later chorale cantata on this hymn on the melody by Jacob Regnart.[11] The hymn is treated as in a chorale fantasia, with string ritornellos between the verses.[8]

The only chorale stanza of the work is "Ich, dein betrübtes Kind" ("I, Your troubled child"),[1] the third stanza of Johann Heermann's "Wo soll ich fliehen hin" ("Where should I flee"), published in 1630.[5] Its term "troubled child" is a good summary of the position of the human being in relation to God. The wording of its conclusion, "In deine tiefen Wunden, da ich stets Heil gefunden" ("into Your deep wounds, where I have always found salvation") leads to the following recitative.[1] The voice is accompanied by an obbligato viola (violoncello piccolo in the Leipzig version) in a lively figuration.[3]

Johann Heermann, the hymn writer


A short secco recitative, "Auf diese Schmerzensreu" ("Upon this painful repentance"),[1] introduces the following hymn stanza.[3] It begins with "a musical echo of the torments of the heart swimming in blood".[8]


The second aria, "Tief gebückt und voller Reue" ("Deeply bowed and filled with regret"),[1] is dominated by rich string sound. An adagio passage leads to the da capo.[3] The aria expresses repentance in a "civilised and refined minuet".[8]


The following recitative, "Doch Gott muss mir genädig sein" ("But God must be gracious to me"),[1] ends in a statement of repentance.[8]


The first aria, a da capo aria, "Stumme Seufzer, stille Klagen" (Mute sighs, silent cries),[1] is accompanied by the oboe. The theme of the ritornello is present throughout the movement.[3] The middle section begins with a dissonance to stress the sorrowful image of "Und ihr nassen Tränenquellen" ("And you, moist springs of tears"). It ends with a passage set as a secco recitative, described by Mincham: "Time almost appears to stand still with this final expression of misery".[8]


The musicologist Julian Mincham explains that it "drips with the self-obsessed agonies of sin, pain and abandonment ... with the torment of an abandoned soul swamped by its own sin and sorrow. Its finely wrought contours portray dramatically the vacillating emotions ranging from horror and terror to lonely and dispirited resignation."[8]

A recitative sets the scene, "Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut" ("My heart swims in blood").[1][3]


Although limited to one soprano voice, Bach achieves a variety of musical expression in the eight movements. All but one recitative are accompanied by the strings (accompagnato), and only movement 5 is secco, accompanied by the continuo only.[3] The solo voice is treated to dramatic declamation, close to contemporary opera.[8]


Movements of Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut, BWV 199
No. Title Text Type Vocal Winds Strings Key Time
1 Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut Lehms Recitative S Fg 2Vl Va C minor common time
2 Stumme Seufzer, stille Klagen Lehms Aria S Ob Vo C minor common time
3 Doch Gott muss mir genädig sein Lehms Recitative S Fg 2Vl Va Vo common time
4 Tief gebückt und voller Reue Lehms Aria S Fg 2Vl Va Vo E-flat major 3/4
5 Auf diese Schmerzensreu Lehms Recitative S Vo common time
6 Ich, dein betrübtes Kind Heermann Chorale S Va (solo) Vo F major common time
7 Ich lege mich in diese Wunden Lehms Recitative S Fg 2Vl Va Vo common time
8 Wie freudig ist mein Herz Lehms Aria S Ob Fg 2Vl Va B-flat major 6/8

In the following table of the movements, the scoring follows the Neue Bach-Ausgabe.[9] The keys and time signatures are taken from Alfred Dürr, using the symbol for common time (4/4).[3] The continuo, playing throughout, is not shown.

The cantata, structured in eight movements, is scored as chamber music for a solo soprano voice (S), oboe (Ob), violins (Vl), viola (Va), and basso continuo (Bc) including bassoon (Fg) and violone (Vo). In the Weimar version, it is in C minor, with a viola as the obbligato instrument in movement 6.[9] The title page of the parts for this version reads: "Geistliche Cantate / Mein Herze schwimt im Blut / â / Soprano solo / 1 Hautb. / 2 Viol. / Viola / e / Basso / di / J.S.Bach".[10] In the Leipzig version, it is in D minor, with an obbligato violoncello piccolo instead of the viola.[3]

Scoring and structure

The Neue Bach-Ausgabe recognises three distinct versions: the Weimar version, a Köthen version, and the Leipzig version.[3]

Bach first performed the cantata on 12 August 1714.[7] When he performed it again in Leipzig on the eleventh Sunday after Trinity in 1723 (8 August) it was the first solo cantata and the most operatic work which he had presented to the congregation up to that point.[8] He made revisions for that performance, such as transposing it from C minor to D minor and changing the obbligato viola to violoncello piccolo. In the same service, he also performed a new work, Siehe zu, daß deine Gottesfurcht nicht Heuchelei sei, BWV 179]: one before and one after the sermon.

The text, which concerns a sinner seeking and finding redemption, was written by Darmstadt, and it is not known whether Bach knew him personally, but he may well have had access to Lehm's 1711 publication Gottgefälliges Kirchen-Opffer, which includes this text and that of another solo cantata, Widerstehe doch der Sünde, BWV 54, performed the month before.[3] The third stanza of Johann Heermann's hymn "Wo soll ich fliehen hin" is integrated as movement 6.[5] The text in the first person shows the dramatic change of a person initially feeling as "a monster in God's eyes"[1] to finally feeling accepted as God's child. The cantata text was set to music in 1712 by Johann Christoph Graupner in Darmstadt. It is not known if Bach knew of Graupner's composition.[3] The text has no specific relation to the prescribed readings, therefore it is possible that Bach may have already composed the work before his promotion to concert master with regular Sunday services, like the other cantata on a text by Lehms.[6]

Georg Christian Lehms, copper engraving c. 1713

[4] (Luke 18:9–14).Pharisee and the Tax Collector, the parable of the Gospel of Luke's) duty as an apostle (1 Corinthians 15:1–10), and from the Paul, on the gospel of Christ and his (First Epistle to the Corinthians The prescribed readings for the Sunday were from the [3]

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