These pages give access to the texts of all Bach cantatas, as well as oratorios, passions, masses, and motets. All texts are in the original language, i.e. most are in German, some are in Latin, and then there are bits in Italian and in Greek.
English Translations There are several English translations of the texts of Bach's cantatas:

Texte zu den Kirchenkantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach / The texts to Johann Sebastian Bach's church cantatas. Translation by Z. Philip Ambrose. Neuhausen-Stuttgart: Hänssler, 1984.

This volume, connected with Helmuth Rilling's recordings of the cantatas, presents the original texts alongside ingenious translations that maintain the metrical organization and word order of the German originals.

The following two well-known books provide less literal singing translations of Bach's cantatas (and other vocal works in the second):

Charles Sanford Terry. Joh. Seb. Bach: cantata texts, sacred and secular, with a reconstruction of the Leipzig liturgy of his period. London, 1926.

Henry S. Drinker. Texts of the choral works of Johann Sebastian Bach in English translation. 4 vols. New York, 1942-43.

The following volume presents line-by-line English translations in German word order:

Melvin P. Unger. Handbook to Bach's sacred cantata texts: an interlinear translation with reference guide to biblical quotations and allusions. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1996.

The English translations in the Teldec/Telefunken series are often very inaccurate. (Information provided by Michael Marissen).

Missing Compositions The composition of the following works has been lost:

36aSteigt freudig in die Luft
66aDer Himmel dacht auf Anhalts Ruhm und Glück
70aWachet! betet! betet! wachet
80aAlles was von Gott geboren
120bGott man lobet dich in der Stille
147aBringet dem Herrn Ehre seines Namens
184a[text unknown]
186aÄrge dich, o Seele, nicht
190aSinget dem Herrn ein neues Lied
193aIhr Häuser des Himmels, ihr scheinenden Lichter
194a[text unknown]
205aBlast Lärmen, ihr Feinde
208aWas mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd
216aErwählte Pleißenstadt
223Meine Seele soll Gott loben [fragment]
224Reißt euch los, bedrängte Sinnen [fragment]
244aKlagt, Kinder, klagt es aller Welt
248a[text unknown]
249bVerjaget, zerstreuet, zerrüttet, ihr Sterne

(Information from Dürr, A. Die Kantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach, Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1971)

Typesetting Text fragments that were taken from other sources are printed in bold.
Contributions The following people have sent me texts that are included in these pages: Joachim Vogelsänger (Schemelli Gesangsbuch, BWV 439-507), Kurt Büchler (BWV 247), Léon P. B. Habets (dutch translations).

Several people have informed me about errors in the pages: Joachim Bamberg, Harry Bartels, Albert Jan Becking, Jay Beder, Bruno Bianco, Regula Boeniger, Jörg-Andreas Böttich, Peter Broncek, Jan-Frerk Burmester, Johan De Wael, Martin Fell, Holger Hänsgen, Eduard van Hengel, Timo Keller, Michael Kipp, Matthias Knoll, Andrew Koll, Jaap Krabbendam, Martin A. Lobeck, Michael Marissen, Charles K. Moss, Fred Weijs, Rüdiger Weyer, Dick Wursten.

Thank you!

  Bach Cantata Page
Created by Walter F. Bischof