Bist du bei mir

Johann Sebastian Bach

Bist du bei mir

BWV508

About this work

This little song, which translates as "If you are with me," is one of the most famous items entered in the Clavierbüchlein ("Little keyboard book") Bach prepared for his second wife, Anna Magdalena in 1725. It was the second of two such books prepared for her (the first dates from 1722, the year after their marriage) that were designed to further her keyboard skills. Both include teaching material by Bach himself and recreational music by other composers. "Bist du bei mir" falls into the latter category. Anna Magdalena was herself an accomplished singer and must have been touched by the addition of this simple but affecting song for soprano and keyboard. Long believed to have been composed by Bach, it is now recognized as being almost certainly the work of his contemporary Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel (1690 -1749). Stölzel, a fine and much undervalued composer, was admired by Bach, and several of his works were in Bach's library.

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