So much of the text for BWV 115 centers on keeping to the righteous path lest death and final judgement come for you unexpectedly. We must “be vigilant, plead, and pray” states the opening chorus in its oddly happy, bubbly way. However, my take is more carpe diem than fear of being caught mid-sin, of taking nothing for granted, especially as we emerge slowly but surely into a post-pandemic world.
The last time we performed this cantata, I wrote in my part, “best aria EVER!” above the soprano solo, “Bete aber auch dabei Mitten in dem Wachen!” This still holds true. The voice is urging the listener to ask for mercy and forgiveness from sin, but for me it’s about release; it's about letting go of past mistakes, sadness, and focusing on the present and is some of the most beautiful, soul-nurturing music I have ever encountered.