Royal Academy of Music/Kohn Foundation Bach Cantatas

Sunday, 17.06.2018 12:00, Duke’s Hall

Tickets: £15 (concessions £12), season discounts available. By telephone 020 7873 7300 and in person (Monday–Friday, 10am–4pm) and online

BWV 2 Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein
BWV 145 Ich lebe, mein Herze, zu deinem Ergötzen
BWV 114 Ach, lieben Christen, seid getrost

Iain Ledingham director
Madeleine Easton leader

Performed on historical instruments. 

Two of today’s cantatas, belonging to Bach’s 1724–5 chorale cantata cycle, draw on venerable sixteenth-century Lutheran hymns. Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein, BWV 2, written for the Second Sunday after Trinity in 1724, is based on Martin Luther’s 1524 version of Psalm 12. The text warns Lutherans to be wary of slipping into heresy, and Bach — as if mindful of the dangers of departing from tradition — sets the opening verse as a chorus whose tone is deliberately archaic. In contrast, the opening of Ach, lieben Christen, seid getrost, BWV 114, is in a modern concerto style, though a melancholy tone is struck by the melody of Johannes Gigas’s penitential hymn of 1561. The cantata’s two arias both contain memorable woodwind obbligatos, for flute and oboe respectively.

The nineteenth-century source of the Easter cantata Ich lebe, mein Herze, zu deinem Ergötzen, BWV 145, appears to lack some of the music demanded by Picander’s published text; but what remains is a delightful evocation of the joy of Easter.

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