BWV 271

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Original source: Chorale, Befiehl du deine Wege, BWV 271
Chorale Text: Befiehl du deine Wege*, by Paul Gerhardt (1653)
Tune: Befiehl du deine Wege (melody #1), by Hans Leo Hassler (1601) (Zahn 5385a)
First Performance: Unknown*
Appearance in Early Collections (Key): Riemenschneider 367; Breitkopf 366; Dietel 143; AmB 46II p.330
Other Harmonizations: BWVs 135.6, 153.5, 161.6, 244.15, 244.17, 244.44, 244.54, 244.62, 248.5, 248.64, 270


This chorale survives without text. The text that appears here is the one provided by editors of the Bach Gesellschaft Ausgabe (BGA).

Speculation regarding liturgical occasion: According to Smend, this setting may have come from the lost St. Mark Passion (BWV 247). He suggests three possible movements:
1) Movement 23 using the 6th verse of O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden
2) Movement 28 using the 1st verse of Befiehl du deine Wege
3) Movement 30 using the 2nd verse of O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden
(See NBA III/2.2 KB, p.329, also III/2.1 KB, p.99)

Smend’s suggestion is supported in two ways: 1) This chorale tune has a strong association with Good Friday, and 2) its position in the Dietel Collection, sections of which are arranged loosely by the liturgical calendar – Dietel chorales 136, 138, 139, 140 and 142 are all from Good Friday passions (BWVs 244 & 245).

View a complete listing of speculations regarding the liturgical occasions of individual BWV 253–438 chorales.

bach– by Luke Dahn. Copyright 2018.