Es ist dir gesagt, Mensch, was gut ist (It has been
told to you, man, what is good), BWV 45, is a church
cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in
Leipzig for the eighth Sunday after Trinity and first
performed it on 11 August 1726.
The cantata is a symmetrical structure around the
central Gospel quotation, beginning with the Old
Testament and leading to the chorale.
The opening chorus is a complex structure, beginning
with an extended instrumental section, then alternating
fugal sections with others in which the vocal parts are
embedded in the orchestral concerto. Both recitatives
are secco. The tenor aria is accompanied by the strings
in dance-like character.
The central movement, the quotation from the Gospel, is
given to the bass as the vox Christi (voice of Christ).
Bach marks it Arioso and has the strings play in vivid
movement, to passionately emphasize the words. The
strings open the movement and repeat that music four
times in different keys, the bass part shows bold leaps
and rich coloraturas. John Eliot Gardiner observes:
The second part of the cantata opens with a movement
for bass and strings marked arioso – deceptively so (it
is Bach’s way of flagging up utterances by Christ in
person as distinct from passages of indirect speech),
as in truth this is a full blown, highly virtuosic
aria, half Vivaldian concerto, half operatic scena.
The figuration is similar in the following alto aria,
but mellow in the solo flute with continuo, matching
the consoling words. The closing chorale on a melody by
Ahasverus Fritsch is set in four parts.
The cantata in seven movements is scored for three
vocal soloists (alto, tenor, and bass), a four-part
choir, two flauti traversi, two oboes, two violins,
viola and basso continuo.
I created this arrangement of the first Aria: "Weiß ich
Gottes Rechte" (If I know God's commandments) for
French Horn & Strings (2 Violins, Viola & Cello).