During his extraordinarily long career as a composer of church music Telemann (1681-1767) wrote at least 20 complete annual cycles of cantatas and 46 settings of the Passions. Of the 1700 cantatas for which his authorship is reasonably certain, about 1400 survive. Telemann held church music posts in Eisenach, Frankfurt, Sorau, Leipzig and finally settled in Hamburg where he remained until his death in 1767. He was succeeded there by his godson Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, the second son of Johann Sebastian.
Ich weiß, daß mein Erlöser lebt was earlier ascribed to Bach and numbered BWV 160, being again among the works that Bach had copied out in connection with his employment in Leipzig. With a text by Erdmann Neumeister, the cantata is scored for tenor, with violin, bassoon, and continuo. It was written for the first day of Easter, and is in accordance with the celebratory mood of the season. It opens with a lively da capo tenor aria. The following extended recitative has the poetic and dramatic intensity of a Passion Evangelist, tears of joy melismatically depicted. This leads to a second da capo aria in praise of God. A recitative casts fear aside in confidence of the resurrection, and the final aria, firmly in C major like the rest of the cantata, expresses further desire for a place in heaven.
© Ryan Turner