5. Es war ein wunderlicher Krieg

From Christ lag in Todes Banden, BWV 4, Versus 4

Composer
Johann Sebastian Bach
Key
e minor
Meter
4/4
Structure
none
Length
44 measures

German text

English translation

Es war ein wunderlicher Krieg,
It was a wondrous battle [on the cross],
Da Tod und Leben rungen;
Where death [Satan] and life [Jesus] wrestled;
Das Leben (da) behielt den Sieg,
Life got the victory (there);
Es hat den Tod verschlungen.
It has swallowed up death.
Die Schrift hat verkündig(e)t das,
Scripture has proclaimed this:
Wie ein Tod den andern frass,
How one death [Jesus’s] devoured the other [death]
Ein Spott aus dem Tod ist worden.
[And] a mockery was made of death.
Alleluja!
Hallelujah.
 

About the text

  • Author: Unknown
  • From Martin Luther’s Easter hymn of 1524, adapted from the Latin sequence Victimae paschali laudes, and modelled on the hymn Christ ist erstanden (Dürr 2005, 263–264)
  • Scripture readings for the day: 1 Corinthians 5:6–5:8; Mark 16:1–16:8

Instrumentation

  • Soprano
  • Alto
  • Tenore chorale
  • Basso
  • Continuo: Organo

Resources

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