Bach and before: music at St Thomas’s Leipzig

Saturday 31 October 2015, 7.30pm

St John’s Downshire Hill, Hampstead, London NW3 1NU

Music by three predecessors of J.S. Bach as Kantor at the Thomasschule in Leipzig – Schein, Schelle, Kuhnau – and the first cantata that Bach composed for his new job there: the magnificent ‘Die Elenden sollen essen’ (BWV 75)

When Bach was given the post of Kantor at the Thomasschule in Leipzig he joined a long line of musicians in this position, which continues to this day. In the first part of this concert we play music by three of Bach’s predecessors at Leipzig: Schein, Schelle, and Kuhnau. You will hear their treatments of familiar texts, demonstrating the extraordinary strength and beauty of German church music of those times. After the interval we perform the first cantata that Bach wrote after his Leipzig appointment, ‘Die Elenden sollen essen’ (BWV 75). This is a large work in two parts, in the second of which Bach delights us by bringing in a trumpet, initially just to play the chorale melody, but this is soon followed by a virtuosic aria with bass …

The music

Johann Hermann Schein (1586–1630): Geistliches Konzert ‘Nun komm der Heiden Heiland’

Johann Schelle (1648–1701): Canon on ‘Nun komm der Heiden Heiland’

Johann Hermann Schein: ‘Banchetto musicale’, no. 20 in E minor

Johann Schelle: Cantata ‘Aus der Tiefen’

Johann Kuhnau (1660–1722): Cantata ‘Was Gott tut das ist wohlgetan’

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750): Cantata ‘Die Elenden sollen essen’, BWV 75

The musicians

(Rachel Elliott soprano, Sally Bruce-Payne alto, Thomas Hobbs tenor, Robert Davies bass, Adrian Woodward trumpet, James Eastaway oboe, Mark Radcliffe oboe, Alastair Mitchell bassoon, Nicolette Moonen, violin / director, Anna Curzon violin, Rachel Stott viola, Oliver Wilson viola, Luise Buchberger cello, Silas Wollston organ)

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