Our poor Robert is in a desperate situation, feeling helpless and alone. Every culture develops techniques to help people to bear or overcome such a crisis. Our example is more than 250 years old - and still alive. It's a piece of music from Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), born in Eisenach, Thuringia, the place where Martin Luther translated the Bible into German. Bach is considered the greatest German baroque composer. You can listen to a part of a clerical composition called Matthäus-Passion in the German language. Bach tried to express human suffering and to respect the cry for help in his music, which gives consolation. Start the audio file and listen to the great version by Ton Koopman and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Andrew Manze (violin) and Kai Wessel (Altus).
Robert feels understood by the music. Surely you can remember a situation in which you felt very alone and helpless. If you would like to recall the situation with the grace of this music, do so. Or simply close your eyes, listen, follow your imagination and enjoy it. And by the way: even German native speakers cannot understand every word without knowing the text. And: classical singers have the tendency not to vocalize the "r". This is different from spoken language!
Text with literally translation:
||Have mercy, my Lord!
|Um meiner Zähren* willen!
||For the sake of my tears!
|Schaue hier, Herz und Auge
||Look here, heart and eye
|Weint vor dir bitterlich.
||weeps before you bitterly.
* "Zähren" is an old word. We do not use it any more. Today we say "Tränen" (tears).
JS Bach (1685-1750)
"Matthäus-Passion BWV 244: Seconda parte: Aria (alto) Erbarme dich"
sung by Kai Wessel, directed by Ton Koopman with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
Taken from the Matthäus Passion by Bach cat. no. 229245814-2
(P) 1993 Erato Disques S.A.
Courtesy of Warner Classic, Warner Music UK Ltd