No 144 Weimar Cantatas III

Sat 22nd June 2019  »  8:00 pm
Nikolaikirche
Bach and Weimar

– J. S. Bach: Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147a – J. S. Bach: Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 61 – J. S. Bach: Wachet! betet! betet! wachet!, BWV 70a – J. S. Bach: Christen, ätzet diesen Tag, BWV 63

Superintendent Martin Henker (Gospel readings), Katharina Konradi (soprano), Ingeborg Danz (alto), Patrick Grahl (tenor), Roderick Williams (bass), RIAS Kammerchor, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, direction: Rinaldo Alessandrini

Concert introduction: 7.00 pm, Zeitgeschichtliches Forum, Dr. Benedikt Schubert · Pre-concert talk in English: Prof. Dr. Michael Marissen
The performance of Katharina Konradi is kindly supported by GVL and Deutscher Musikwettbewerb,
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. Reason enough for us to put on all the Weimar cantatas in a five-part concert cycle for the Bach Festival – all with different performance practices and complemented by the first Passion that Bach ever performed: the St. Mark Passion »di Signore Keiser«.

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