Ich steh mit einem Fuß im Grabe (I am standing with one
foot in the grave), BWV 156, is a church cantata by
Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in Leipzig for
the third Sunday after Epiphany and first performed it
on 23 January 1729.
BWV 156 was Bach's fourth and last cantata for the
third Sunday after Epiphany. The prescribed readings
for the Sunday were taken from the Epistle to the
Romans, rules for life (Romans 12:17–21), and from the
Gospel of Matthew, the healing of a leper (Matthew
8:1–13). The librettist was Picander. He incorporated
two chorale tunes: "Machs mit mir, Gott, nach deiner
Güt" by Johann Herman Schein (1628) and "Herr, wie du
willt, so schicks mit mir" by Kaspar Bienemann
The sinfonia was likely derived from an earlier oboe
concerto and was later adapted as part of Bach's
F-minor harpsichord concerto.
This opening sinfonia is scored for oboe, strings, and
continuo. It is in F major and common time. Compared to
the later version for harpsichord, the melody is
straightforward and unembellished, and is harmonically
conceived to prepare the second movement.
The work is scored for three vocal soloists (alto,
tenor, and bass), four-part choir, oboe, two violins,
viola, and basso continuo.
I created this arrangement for Solo Viola & String
Quartet (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).