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Bach: Bist du bei mir BWV 508 for Violin & Piano

By Johann Sebastian Bach

Detailed Description

Violin & Piano - Early Intermediate - Digital Download
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). Arranged by James M. Guthrie, ASCAP. Baroque Period, Repertoire, Anniversary, Wedding, Recital. Score, Set of Parts. 9 pages. Published by jmsgu3 (S0.328896).

Item Number: S0.328896

J. S. Bach BWV 508  Score: 5 pages, Solo part: 1 page. Piano part: 2 pages.

Bist du bei mir

Bach adapted this aria from a lost Stölzel opera called Diomedes. He changed the original orchestral instrumentation to soprano, strings, and continuo.  He also modified the voice-leading making it sound more like a Bach composition. The work appears as BWV 508 No. 25 in the Anna Magdalena Notebook No. 2.  


Only a few remnants of the original opera have survived. Historians speculate that Anna Magdalena got the song from the Leipzig Opera after the bankruptcy of 1720. Chances are good, though, that the tune was a favorite of everyone in Leipzig at the time.  


When thou art near, I go with joy
To death and to my rest.
O how joyous would my end be,
If your fair hands
            Would close my faithful eyes.
- Unknown

Bach Overview

First of all, Johann Sebastian Bach is maybe the greatest composer in music history. Certainly, he was prolific. As a result, everyone has heard of his works. Furthermore, these works number well over a thousand. It seems like people are probably most familiar with the instrumental works such as the Brandenburg Concertos, and the Goldberg Variations. But, similarly famous are such noteworthy works as the Well-Tempered Clavier, the Musical Offering, and certainly the Art of Fugue. Seems like his most famous vocal works include the most noteworthy Mass in B Minor. Also, most noteworthy, though, are the St. John Passion, and certainly the Christmas Oratorio.


Bach came from a long line of musicians and above all, composers. Consequently, he, first of all, pursued a career as a church organist. So as a result, he gained employment in various Protestant churches in Germany. For a while, he worked as a court musician in Weimar and Köthen. Here he probably developed his organ style and likewise his chamber music style. Eventually, he, therefore, gained an appointment as Cantor of St. Thomas in Leipzig. Here he worked until difficulties with his employer ultimately drove him away. The King of Poland finally appointed him as court composer.


It seems like Bach created a fascinating new international style. He synthesized elements of the most noteworthy European music ideas into his new style. Even more, this new style was probably his synthesis of European musical rhythm and form. Furthermore, he demonstrated a complete mastery of counterpoint and motivic development. His sense of harmonic organization probably propelled him to the top.


Mendelssohn conducted a Bach revival in the nineteenth century. His effort probably helped to re-familiarize the public with the magnitude of Bach’s works. During this period, scholars published many noteworthy Bach biographies. Moreover, Wolfgang Schmieder published the BWV (Bach Werke Verzeichnis). As a result, this is now the official catalog of his entire artistic output. The BWV number allows us to locate a work in the catalog. Sometimes scholars will simply use an “S” (Schmieder) as an abbreviation for “BWV”.


NASA launched two Voyager spacecraft in 1977. Onboard are phonograph records with sounds, music, and images of life on Earth. The purpose of the launch was to inform intelligent extraterrestrial life forms about conditions on Earth. The music on the disc is varied. There is Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Stravinsky among others. However, because Bach is so important in our music history, it contains three times more Bach that all the others combined.

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