Royal Academy of Music/Kohn Foundation Bach Cantatas

Sunday, 20.03.2016 12:00, Duke’s Hall

Iain Ledingham director
Rachel Podger leader
Eve Daniell soprano
Alexander Simpson countertenor
James Orford organ*

JS Bach Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust, BWV 170 (Contented rest, beloved inner joy)
JS Bach Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit, BWV 669*
JS Bach Concerto in C (after Johann Ernst, Prince of Weimar), BWV 595*
JS Bach Non sa che sia dolore, BWV 209 (He knows not what sorrow is)

Performed on historical instruments

Tickets £14 (concessions £11). Sold out, returns only.

‘Vergnugte Rüh, beliebte Seelenlust’ is one of only two surviving cantatas for the sixth Sunday after Trinity. First performed in July 1726, it is a highly original cantata for a solo alto voice. Through Lehms’s text, the modestly scored cantata tells of a world full of sin and perversion that the repentant Christian may be relieved from when he is received into heaven. The cantata reaches its climax in the third movement where the alto sings of those souls who have lost the path to God. With breath-taking tension, Bach removes the basso continuo line from beneath the feet of these ungrounded souls and, for the first time in his sacred cantata repertory, gives the organ an obbligato line during an aria.

Although BWV 209 is also set for a solo (this time, soprano) voice, the musical contrast between these two cantatas could not be greater. One of only two sister cantatas with an Italian text, Non sa che sia dolore, this is a a lighthearted, charming and Italianate bouquet of movements. The text, from a collection of poems and opera libretti by Giovanni Battista Guarini and Pietro Metastasio, follows a scholar as he returns by wind and waves to Ansbach after his travels. The energetic and virtuosic flute obbligato lines alongside a sinfonia which is reminiscent of the B minor Orchestral Suite suggest that the cantata may have been written around 1724 when Bach had contact with an exceptional flautist.

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