Siehe, ich will viel Fischer aussenden (Behold, I will
send out many fishers), BWV 88, is a church cantata by
Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in Leipzig for
the fifth Sunday after Trinity and first performed it
on 21 July 1726.
Bach composed the cantata in Leipzig for the fifth
Sunday after Trinity. The prescribed readings for the
Sunday were from the First Epistle of Peter, 1 Peter
3:8–15 "Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts", and from
the Gospel of Luke, Luke 5:1–11, Peter's great catch of
fish. The text of this cantata and six others is
similar in structure and content to cantatas of Johann
Ludwig Bach. The theme is derived from the gospel. A
related verse of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 16:16) opens the
cantata. The prophecy referred originally to the return
from the captivity in Babylon. The central movement,
opening the second part to be performed after the
sermon, is the quotation of verse 10 from the gospel.
The cantata is closed by the final stanza of Georg
Neumark's hymn "Wer nur den lieben Gott läßt walten"
(1641). This chorale had served as the base for Bach's
chorale cantata for the same occasion in 1724, Wer nur
den lieben Gott läßt walten, BWV 93, part of his second
The opening movement is given to the bass solo, likely
because Jeremiah has God speak in the first person. The
music follows the text in two sections, as in a motet.
Probably therefore Bach avoided the title aria and
wrote basso solo instead. The two sections reflect the
words "Fischer" (fishermen) and "Jäger" (hunters). The
first section paints a seascape in undulating
figuration of the strings with the oboes in 6/8 time on
a pedal point. Bach "represents the movement of waves
and water", termed barcarolle by John Eliot Gardiner.
The voice presents the text several times in varied
declamation. Suddenly the scene changes to a hunting
scene, horns join the orchestra, the tempo in common
time is marked "allegro quasi presto". The voice is
again set in expressive declamation, saying "And
afterwards I will send out many hunters ...".
The recitative ends on a question, "Does He ... abandon
us to the deceit and trickery of the enemy?" The answer
is given in the aria immediately, without the usual
ritornello, a passionate: "Nein, nein" (No, no). The
middle section begins with a contrasting, but also
passionate "Ja, ja" (Yes, yes). In the very end, the
strings join the obbligato oboe d'amore and play a
ritornello, reminiscent of a minuet. According to
Alfred Dürr, the clear, even structure may symbolize
the "rechte Bahn" (right path) mentioned in the
Movement 4 is the centre of the composition. The tenor
as the Evangelist announces "Jesus sprach zu Simon"
(Jesus said to Simon). The direct speech of Jesus,
calling Peter as his disciple, is sung by the bass as
the vox Christi (voice of Christ): "Fürchte dich nicht;
den von nun an wirst du Menschen fahen" (Fear not, from
henceforth thou shalt catch men.). The careful phasing
is set on a continuo quasi ostinato.
The closing chorale is a four-part setting.
Although originally scored for four vocal soloists
(soprano, alto, tenor, and bass), two horns, two oboe
d'amore, taille (tenor oboe), two violins, viola and
continuo. A four-part choir is only needed for the
chorale, if at all, I created this arrangement for
Viola & Cello.