Jesu, der du meine Seele (Jesus, You, who my soul), BWV
78, is a church cantata of Johann Sebastian Bach. He
composed the chorale cantata in Leipzig for the 14th
Sunday after Trinity and first performed it on 10
September 1724. It is based on the hymn by Johann
Bach wrote the cantata in his second year in Leipzig,
when he composed an annual cycle of chorale cantatas.
For the 14th Sunday after Trinity, 10 September 1724,
he chose the chorale of Johann Rist (1641) in 12
stanzas. Rist set the words and probably also the
melody. An unknown librettist wrote the poetry for
seven movements, keeping the first and last stanza and
quoting some of the original lines as part of his own
writing in the other movements. Movement 2 corresponds
to stanza 2 of the chorale, 6 to 11, 3 to 3–5, 4 to
6–7, and 5 to 8–10.
The prescribed readings for the Sunday were from the
Epistle to the Galatians, Paul's teaching on "works of
the flesh" and "fruit of the Spirit" (Galatians
5:16–24), and from the Gospel of Luke, Cleansing ten
lepers (Luke 17:11–19). The chorale seems only
distantly related, dealing with the Passion of Jesus,
which cleanses the believer. The poet refers to
sickness and healing in a few lines, more than the
chorale does, such as "Du suchst die Kranken" (you
search for the sick).
The cantata is remarkable for its widely contrasting
affects: meditative profundity in the opening chorus,
nearly joyful though hesitant bouncing in the second
movement, and despair in the third.
This duet Aria: "Wir eilen mit schwachen, doch emsigen
Schritten" (We hasten with weak, yet eager steps) for
soprano and alto speaks of rushing steps, shown
predominantly in the figures of the continuo of celli,
violone and organ.
Although originally scored for soprano, alto, and basso
continuo including organ, I created this arrangement
for String Quartet (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).