– J. S. Bach: Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis, BWV 21 – J. Schelle: Machet die Tore weit – J. S. Bach: Magnificat Es-Dur, BWV 243a
Solisten, Solomon’s Knot baroque collective, direction: Jonathan Sells
When Bach took up the post of cantor of St. Thomas’s Church in 1723, the words of Psalm 24, »Lift up your heads, o ye gates«, might frequently have occurred to him even though the magnificent setting of them by his predecessor J. Schelle scarcely seems to have interested him at all. He poured all his energy into the self-imposed task of filling the churches of Leipzig from then on with his own, primarily new cantatas: masterpieces on a weekly basis, compositions of an inconceivably high standard. Almost incidentally, the immortal »Magnificat« also flowed from his pen at this time. However, despite this compositional fever Bach was also keen to put before the churchgoers some of the impressive results of his previous work, presenting, after just three weeks, the cantata he had written back in Weimar, »Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis«, which leaves hearers in awed amazement today just as it did then.