Royal Academy of Music/Kohn Foundation Bach Cantatas

Sunday, 21.02.2016 12:00, Duke’s Hall

Iain Ledingham director
Margaret Faultless leader
Coline Infante soprano
Stefan Kennedy tenor
Richard Walshe baritone
Joseph Beech organ*

JS Bach Gleichwie der Regen und Schnee vom Himmel fällt, BWV 18 (For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven)
JS Bach Prelude and Fugue in E minor, BWV 548*
JS Bach Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele, BWV 69a (Bless the Lord, O my soul)

Performed on modern instruments

This event is sold out - returns only.
Tickets £14 (concessions £11), season discounts available, on sale online, by telephone 020 7873 7300 (weekdays in term-time, 10.00am–4.00pm).

Originating from 1713 and his Weimar years, BWV 18 is one of Bach’s early cantatas. The popular libretto comes from Erdmann Neumeister’s 1711 Eisenach cantata cycle. The poet skillfully weaves a large proportion of liturgical text into a particularly pictorial narrative which likens the fruitfulness of God’s word on earth to the fertility and goodness that rain and snow bring to the ground, and warns the congregation against Satan’s worldly traps and snares. Bach’s setting masterfully illustrates the beguiling imagery throughout the cantata. Bach performed BWV18 in Leipzig eleven years after its premiere, when he added two recorders to the original ensemble of four violas, bassoon, and bass continuo. Although the musical material remains unchanged, perhaps the revision enhances the pastoral associations of the text. It is upon this later version that today’s performance is based.

The highly jubilant and exuberant opening chorus of ‘Lobe den Herrn, Meine seele’ is nothing if not celebratory and radiant as Bach calls upon three trumpets, three oboes, strings, and timpani to sing praise to God in a double fugue. Written originally for the 12th Sunday after Trinity in Leipzig 1723, Bach rescored material from this cantata multiple times, most notably in 1748 to celebrate the council elections; a rare example of Bach reusing religious music for secular occasions. The anonymous text of the cantata refers to the Gospel of Mark as it praises God’s constant presence in our earthly life and revels in his ability to restore hearing to a deaf mute man. The subsequent movements of the cantata take a more personal and intimate turn through tenor and bass arias with humble obbligato woodwind lines.

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