Sunday 13 December, 3:00 pm - 4:20 pmFree – £15
Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele (Adorn yourself, O dear soul), BWV 180
Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir (Out of deep anguish I call to You), BWV 38
Mache dich, mein Geist, bereit (Make yourself ready, my spirit), BWV 115
Wohl dem, der sich auf seinen Gott (Fortunate the person who upon his God), BWV 139
Themes of weddings and feasts abound in Cantata 180, Bach’s choral-cantata setting of the great Eucharist hymn, ‘Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele’ (Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness). Based on the Parable of the Great Banquet, it maintains a festive feeling throughout, imagining a bride preparing for her wedding, full of charm, grace, and great delicacy. Based on Martin Luther’s hymn ‘Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir’ (Out of the deep have I called to thee), the opening chorus of Cantata 38 portrays the individual cries of distress as Bach pushes the frontiers ‘almost out of stylistic reach through abrupt chromatic twists’ (Gardiner). Cantata 115 is ‘one of the most perfect of all’ (Whittaker). In it we find two of the most arresting arias Bach ever wrote: the alto aria Ach schläfrige Seele, wie? ruhest du noch? (Oh, sleepy soul – are you still at rest?) begins ‘as a musical sleep scene of a kind that could have graced any opera of the time’ (Klaus Hofmann); and in the soprano aria ‘Bete aber auch dabei’ (But you should also pray), flute and violoncello piccolo play chamber music of the most exquisite tenderness. Cantata 139 draws on the question about paying taxes, answered by ‘Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s’. It opens with the most attractive fantasia in E major full of wonderful textures, a curtain-raiser to a virtuosic double-concerto tenor aria, and a dramatic bass aria tottering about as ‘misfortune wraps on all sides’.
**Please be aware that this concert has been previously advertised in print publications as taking place on 6th December. This has changed since going to print and the concert will now take place on 13 December. We apologise for any inconvenience**