Gott der Herr ist Sonn und Schild (God the Lord is sun
and shield), BWV 79, is a church cantata by Johann
Sebastian Bach. He composed it in Leipzig in 1725 for
Reformation Day and first performed it on 31 October
Bach composed the cantata for the Reformation Day. The
prescribed readings for the feast day were from the
Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, "be steadfast
against adversaries" (2 Thessalonians 2:3–8), and from
the Book of Revelation, fear God and honour him
(Revelation 14:6–8). An unknown poet was not concerned
about the readings, but did justice to the festive
occasion, beginning with a quotation from Psalm 84
(Psalms 84:11), and including the first stanza from
Martin Rinckart's hymn "Nun danket alle Gott" and as
the closing chorale the final stanza of Ludwig
Helmbold's hymn "Nun laßt uns Gott dem Herren".
John Eliot Gardiner, who conducted the cantatas for
Reformation at the Schlosskirche, Wittenberg where the
Reformation began, describes the opening chorus as a
ceremonial procession, and hears the "insistent drum
beat" going along with the "fanfares of the high horns"
as a "the hammering of Luther’s theses to the oak door
at the back of the church". The instrumental ritornello
introduces two themes: "a festive, march-like theme for
the horns and timpani, and a more lively counter-theme
that develops from a note that is heard seven times.
This, the following aria "Mit allem, was ich hab und
bin" (With everything that I have and am) expresses
similar ideas in a personal way, "tranquil and
Although originally scored for Alto soloist, two
violins, and basso continuo, I created this arrangement
for Oboe & Concert (Pedal) Harp.