Royal Academy of Music/Kohn Foundation Bach Cantatas

Sunday, 26.06.2016 12:00, Duke’s Hall

Iain Ledingham conductor
Madeleine Easton leader
Abigail Broughton soprano
Olivia Warburton mezzo-soprano
Hiroshi Amaki tenor
Richard Walshe baritone

JS Bach Gott ist mein König, BWV 71 (God is my King) 
JS Bach Ich steh mit einem Fuß im Grabe, BWV 156 (I stand with one foot in the grave)  
JS Bach Preise, Jerusalem, den Herrn, BWV 119 (Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem)

Performed on modern instruments

Tickets £14 (concessions £11), season discounts available, on sale online now, and by telephone 020 7873 7300 weekdays in term-time, 10.00am–4.00pm.

‘Gott ist mein könig’, written in 1708 to celebrate the election of a new council in Mühlhausen, is the earliest of Bach’s five council election cantatas. The cantata’s text begins with an emphatic cry of ‘God is my King’ before discussing growth, rebirth and the progression of old to new. Bach’s intriguing setting calls upon a large ensemble and the structural peculiarities of the cantata, which exhibits neither recitatives nor complete arias, demonstrate the ingenuity and creativity of the 23-year-old composer.

For the third Sunday after Epiphany 1729, Bach chose text from Picander’s 1728 cantata cycle alongside a closing chorale by Johann Schein in an intimate and haunting chamber cantata. The brief text of BWV 156 unfolds the moments before death: Bach characterizes the joy of release and the peaceful serenity of time as it stands still alongside physical suffering. The familiar sinfonia for solo oboe sets the tone.

Again written for a council election, ‘Preise, Jerusalem, den Herrn’ celebrates the Leipzig elections in August 1723. The text praises and thanks God and the council for their protection and asks for continuing support. Unmistakably ceremonial in its mature choruses, Bach employs a French overture to begin the cantata and punctuates the movement with entries from a heraldic choir of four trumpets. The excitement and pacing in the way that Bach orchestrates and structures BWV 119 can surely not have failed to make a statement during his first months in Leipzig!

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