No 118 Weimar Cantatas I

Fri 21st June 2019  »  8:00 pm
Bach and Weimar

– J. S. Bach: Der Himmel lacht! Die Erde jubilieret, BWV 31 – J. S. Bach: Erschallet, ihr Lieder, BWV 172 – J. S. Bach: Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis, BWV 21

Pfarrerin Britta Taddiken (Gospel readings), Dorothee Mields (soprano), Susanne Langner (alto), Wolfram Lattke (tenor), Andreas Wolf (bass), Thomanerchor Leipzig, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Cornelia Osterwald (continuo harpsichord), Mechthild Winter (continuo organ), direction: Thomaskantor Gotthold Schwarz

Concert introduction: 7.00 pm, Zeitgeschichtliches Forum, Prof. Dr. Peter Wollny · Pre-concert talk in English: Dr. Andrew Talle
Ticket prices: € 105,00 | 80,00 | 52,00 | 21,00
reduced: € 89,00 | 67,00 | 42,00 | 16,00

The Weimar court chapel where Johann Sebastian Bach worked for nearly a decade was called »Weg zur Himmelsburg« – »Way to the Fortress of Heaven«. This name is to be regarded not just as symbolic, but as a concrete reference to the extraordinary architecture of the edifice: the tiny church rose up through three storeys to a height of nearly 30 metres and was crowned by a dome painted with a sky of clouds. The organist and musicians were placed on the uppermost gallery, their music seeming to come down from heaven to the pews beneath. After six years as an organist in the »fortress of heaven«, Bach was promoted to the position of concertmaster, specially created for him, in 1714. The duties of his new post included the obligation to compose a sacred cantata once a month for the ducal church service. What until then had been a matter of sporadic composition of sacred vocal music now became a regular challenge for Bach, who took it up with ardour and outstanding results. Some 20 cantatas from his Weimar period have survived, most of them to texts by the court poet there, Salomon Franck. The works demonstrate fascinating stylistic variety, ranging from the intimate solo cantata to sumptuous music for festive occasions. Bach makes effective use of the very different instrumental timbres, adapting traditional forms of instrumental music, such as overtures or chaconnes, and transforming the given texts into moving pieces of church music with imagination and effect. Bach must have been very fond of his Weimar cantatas even later: when he was Thomaskantor in Leipzig, many of them took their place again on his music lectern.