This has to be one of Bach’s most gorgeous melodies, and it reflects the words in a supremely joyful way: ‘My faithful heart, exult, sing, be full of merriment—your Jesus is here. Away with misery, and complaining, I’ll just say to you, my Jesus is near.’ Bach’s profound and unshakeable belief in the nurturing power of his God gives this music a radiance that is deeply moving. Bach obviously realized the value of the aria since he borrowed it from Cantata 208, altering and rescoring it for Cantata 68. The semiquavers of Bach’s accompaniment run almost continuously, but Friedman takes a more gentle overall view, allowing periods of calm before the aria builds up to its triumphant end.
from notes by Piers Lane © 2003