Aria: Leget euch dem Heiland unter
from Cantata BWV 182
for alto (a-d''), recorder (or flute) and continuo
Bach’s church cantata BWV 182, Himmelskönig, sei willkommen, was written for the Lutheran liturgy for Palm Sunday, 25 March 1714. The title (King of Heaven, be thou welcome) is associated with the gospel reading for that day, with its account of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
The cantata belongs to Bach’s period in Weimar, and indeed began his first cycle of cantatas for the church’s year. Others were produced at about four weekly intervals from then on. The cantatas in this series show characteristics derived from the Italian style which Bach had begun to adopt. In cantata No 182, for example, he introduces a recitative for bass, and the present aria for alto is in da capo form.
An editorial problem with this work stems from the fact that Bach wrote the continuo part for an organ at high pitch to play it on a modern keyboard instrument in effect transposes the piece down a minor third, which puts the lowest notes of the obbligato below the compass of the treble recorder.This edition offers a recorder part which is as close to the original recorder part as possible.
The text of the aria Leget euch dem Heiland unter, is probably by Salomo Franck, the court poet at Weimar, many of whose texts Bach set. Its exhortation to devotion, purity and dedication are reminiscent of the writing in the epistles of Paul to the early church communities.
Text and translation
Leget euch dem Heiland unter, Submit yourself to the Saviour, Herzen, die ihr christlich seid. hearts, that would be Christian. Tragt ein unbeflektes Kleid Put on a spotless garment eures Glaubens ihm entgegen. of your faith placed in him. Leib und Leben und Vermögen Body and life and power sei dem König jetzt geweiht. be henceforth dedicated to the King.