Royal Academy of Music/Kohn Foundation Bach Cantatas

Sunday, 08.10.2017 12:00, Duke’s Hall

Iain Ledingham director
Margaret Faultless leader

JS Bach Der Herr denket an uns, BWV 196
JS Bach Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich, BWV 17 
JS Bach Leichtgesinnte Flattergeister, 
BWV 181

Performed on historical instruments.

Tickets £15 (concessions £12), season discounts available. Book from Tuesday 4th October 2016: By telephone 020 7873 7300, in person (Monday–Friday, 10am–4pm) and online

Unusual texts are to the fore in this concert’s cantatas. Leichtgessinte Flattergeiste (‘Frivolous flibbertigibbets’) takes the palm for the most charming and least likely opening line in the entire repertoire. The cantata’s theme — that blind stupidity will lead to hell, but all can be saved through God’s grace — is reflected in the short-winded, overly busy gestures of the work’s arias. Only in its closing chorus, celebrating God’s goodness, does a more grounded musical style appear, capped by a delicious trumpet obbligato.

Der Herr denket an uns (‘The Lord has been mindful of us’), an early wedding cantata, has the distinction of setting one of the shortest texts in the canon: five lines in five numbers. But musically this is the young Bach stretching his eagle’s wings, an astonishingly confident take by the teenage composer on the transitional tensions between seventeenth-century musical rhetoric and the new style of musical invention fresh from Italy. What this style became in Bach’s hands over the next twenty years is in glorious evidence in Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich (‘Whoso offereth praise glorifieth Me’), a hymn of praise for the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity in 1726.

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