Yesterday, I had the pleasure of hearing a live performance of Cantata 135, Ach, Herr, mich armen Sünder (Ah Lord, I am a poor sinner). The cantata, first performed in Leipzig in 1724, includes the recognizable chorale tune, “O Sacred Head Now Wounded.”
Most notably for me was the bass aria, Weicht, all ihr Übeltäter (Hence, all you evildoers). This final aria is the liveliest movement of the cantata. It is an excellent example of what Bach’s son, Carl Philipp Emanuel referred to as his father’s “strange” melodies that were “like no others.”
Hear for yourself this “strange” and beautiful melody in a live recording by John Eliot Gardiner, as part of his Bach Cantata Pilgrimage project.