Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort (Uphold us, Lord, within thy word), BWV 126, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He wrote the chorale cantata in 1725 in Leipzig for the Sunday Sexagesimae, the second Sunday before Lent, and first performed it on 4 February 1725. It is based on the hymn by Martin Luther.
Bach wrote the chorale cantata in his second year in Leipzig for Sexagesimae and first performed it on 4 February 1725. This means that it was performed only two days after the cantata Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin, BWV 125, for the Purification of Mary on 2 February. The prescribed readings for the Sunday were taken from the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, "God's power is mighty in the week" (2 Corinthians 11:19–12:9), and from the Gospel of Luke, the parable of the Sower (Luke 8:4–15). The cantata is mainly based on the hymn "Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort" by Martin Luther, but also on other hymn stanzas, which frequently appeared together in hymnals of Bach's time; three stanzas of Luther's chorale, are followed by two stanzas of Justus Jonas, Luther's German version of Da pacem Domine (Give peace, Lord, 1531), and a stanza of Johann Walter paraphrasing 1 Tim 2:2 (1566).
A characteristic feature of the opening chorus is a four-note trumpet signal, which is derived from the beginning of the chorale melody, as if to repeat the words "Erhalt uns, Herr" (Uphold us, Lord) again and again. The motif consists of the three notes of the A minor chord in the sequence A C A E, with the higher notes on the stressed syllables, the highest one on "Herr". The cantus firmus of the chorale is sung by the soprano, the other voices sing in imitation, embedded in an independent concerto of the orchestra.
The first aria is a prayer, intensified by two oboes. In the middle section the words "erfreuen" (delight) and "zerstreuen" (scatter) are illustrated by fast runs in the tenor. The second aria, movement 4, is dramatic, especially in the restless continuo. John Eliot Gardiner quotes W. G. Whittaker: Bach’s "righteous indignation at the enemies of his faith was never expressed more fiercely than in this aria". Movement 3 presents the recitative in the alternating voices alto and tenor, but the ornamented chorale as a duet. The chorale melody switches also, given to the voice which enters, whereas the other one continues its recitative by accompanying material. Movement 6 combines the two stanzas from different chorales in a four-part setting.
Although originally scored for alto, tenor, and bass soloists, a four-part choir, trumpet, two oboes, two violins, viola and basso continuo, I created this arrangement for Organ (2 Manuals w/o Pedals).