Johann Ludwig Bach (1677-1731)
Das ist meine Freude
Johann Bernhard Bach (1676-1749)
Ouverture-Suite No 1 in G minor
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal, BWV 146
Chorus. Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal
Aria. Ich will nach dem Himmel zu
Angharad Rowlands alto
Recitativo. Ach! wer doch schon im Himmel wär!
Danni O'Neill soprano
Aria. Ich säe meine Zähren
Isabelle Atkinson soprano
Recitativo. Ich bin bereit
Henry Ross tenor
Aria (Duetto). Wie will ich mich freuen
Toshi Ogita tenor
Charles Cunliffe bass
Choral. Denn wer selig dahin fähret
John Butt director
Academy Bach Consort
Academy Baroque Soloists
ACADEMY BACH CONSORT
Michael Temporal Darell
ACADEMY BAROQUE SOLOISTS
Oboe da caccia
John Butt is Gardiner Professor of Music at the University of Glasgow and musical director of the Dunedin Consort.
As an undergraduate at the University of Cambridge, he held the office of organ scholar at King’s College. Continuing as a graduate student working on the music of Bach, he received his PhD in 1987. He was subsequently a lecturer at the University of Aberdeen and a Fellow of Magdalene College Cambridge, joining the faculty at UC Berkeley in 1989 as University Organist and Professor of Music. In autumn 1997 he returned to Cambridge as a University Lecturer and Fellow of King’s College, and in October 2001 he took up his current post at Glasgow. His books have been published by Cambridge University Press: these include Bach Interpretation (1990), a handbook on Bach’s Mass in B Minor (1991), Music Education and the Art of Performance in the German Baroque (1994). Playing with History (2002) marked a new tack, examining the broad culture of historically informed performance and attempting to explain and justify it as a contemporary phenomenon. He is also editor or joint editor of both the Cambridge and Oxford Companions to Bach and of the Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Music (2005). His book on Bach’s Passions, Bach’s Dialogue with Modernity, was published in 2010, and explores the ways in which Bach’s Passion settings relate to some of the broader concepts of modernity, such as subjectivity and time consciousness.
Butt’s conducting engagements with the Dunedin Consort since 2003 have included major Baroque repertory and several new commissions. He has been guest conductor with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The English Concert, the Irish Baroque Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, the Royal Academy of Music Bach series, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Portland Baroque Orchestra and the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra. Butt also continues to be active as a solo organist and harpsichordist. Eleven recordings on organ, harpsichord and clavichord have been released by Harmonia Mundi. As conductor or organist he has performed throughout the world, including recent trips to Germany, France, Poland, Israel, Korea, Canada, Belgium, Holland and the Republic of Ireland.
In 2003, he was elected to Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and received the Dent Medal of the Royal Musical Association. That year his book, Playing with History, was shortlisted for the British Academy’s annual Book Prize. In 2006 he was elected Fellow of the British Academy and began a two-year Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship for his research on Bach’s Passions. He has recently served on the Council of the Arts and Humanities Research Council. In January 2011 he became the fifth recipient of the Royal Academy of Music/Kohn Foundation’s Bach Prize, for his work in the performance and scholarship of Bach. In 2013 John Butt was awarded the medal of the Royal College of Organists and the OBE for his services to music in Scotland.
In 1735, upon turning 50 years old, Johann Sebastian Bach began constructing his family tree. This genealogy, listing six generations of the male Bach family members, existed alongside Bach’s project to assemble the musical compositions of his ancestors. Of his second cousin, he wrote the following:
'No 18. Joh. Bernhard Bach, the eldest son of No 8, the above-mentioned Johann Egydius Bach, was born in Erfurt in 1676. He is still alive today and is a chamber musician and organist in Eisenach, the successor to No 13, the above-mentioned Johann Christoph Bach. Johann Bernhard Bach’s only son is listed as No 34.'
Johann Bernhard Bach was taught by his father, and aged 18 he became the organist at the Kaufmannskirche. In 1699 he moved to Magdeburg; but he was soon called to Eisenach to serve as court harpsichordist for John William III, Duke of Saxe-Eisenach. From 1708 to 1712, Johann Bernhard worked with Georg Philipp Telemann, who was concertmaster and then later Kapellmeister of the Eisenach ducal orchestra. When Telemann left for Frankfurt in 1712, Johann Bernhard succeeded him as Kapellmeister.
Very few of Johann Bernhard Bach’s compositions have survived, but among these are the four Ouvertures, or Suites for orchestra. Copies of three of these – the suites in D, G and G minor – were among the effects of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. They can be dated to the years 1729-30 and were seemingly used for performances by the Collegium Musicum in Leipzig.
Johann Ludwig Bach, a distant cousin of Johann Sebastian, was the first member of the Bach family to be employed in a leading musical position at court. Born in Thal near Eisenach, he moved to Meiningen aged 22 to serve at the ducal court until his death. Johann Ludwig had a huge compositional output; Johann Sebastian performed 18 of his cantatas in 1726.
Das ist meine Freude is a setting of Psalm 73:28. Bach’s setting paints the text in a simple but vivid way: the homophonic texture, emphasised by the three-time repetition of ‘Das’, reflects the closeness of being with God, while joy is represented with exuberantly outpouring melisma.
Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal, BWV 146 was composed for the third Sunday after Easter, Jubilate. The date of its first performance is unknown; the earliest possible date would be 12 May 1726. The work only survives in late sources, including a manuscript copy by Johann Sebastian Bach’s pupil Johann Friedrich Agricola. The cantata refers to the Gospel reading for that day, John 16:16-23, and its musical structure can be interpreted to reflect Jesus’s prophecy: ‘your sorrow shall be turned into joy’.
As Klaus Hoffmann writes, 'Bach dug deep into his metaphorical drawer'. For the first and second movements, Bach reused material from a violin concerto (which only survives in a later version as the Harpsichord Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052). The first movement, a sinfonia, is really an obbligato organ concerto, replete with a cadenza similar to that of the Fifth Brandenburg Concerto. It’s unusually large, 'almost oversized' according to Alfred Dürr, for an introductory sinfonia. The next movement is derived from the central movement of the concerto, with Bach allocating the solo violin part to organ. Then an alto aria with obbligato organ, which in Dürr's words 'turns away from the world and towards heaven in mystic zeal'. Indeed, there’s a certain ungroundedness created by the organ’s filigree that suggests a heavenly landscape. A soprano sowing tears of faith (‘Ich säe meine Zähren’) makes for one particularly striking image embodied by Bach’s instrumentation: against the reedy density of the two oboes d’amore, the flute’s figurations fall like tears. The duet for tenor and bass is flurry of activity, simultaneously dancing and lyrical. Then in the ‘B section’ – without need for violins or oboes – the singers provide their own contrapuntal sparkle as they 'glitter like stars'.