Sunday, July 09, 2017

Sunday Bach - Fourth Sunday After Trinity

Purple Mountains and Waves of Grain
Bach wrote three cantatas for the fourth Sunday after Trinity, but I have a particular fondness for his earliest one, BWV 185, Barmherziges Herze der ewigen Lieb (Merciful heart of eternal love), written at Weimar in 1715. This is a small, lightly orchestrated cantata based on the hymn Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ (I call on thee, Lord Jesus Christ) by Johann Agricola. This is a beautiful little piece. Here's what Simon Crouch has to say about it:
The cantata opens with a duet between soprano and tenor in which the chorale melody of the hymn Ich ruf zu dir by Johann Agricola is played by the oboe, entering at the end of the first of the vocalists' lines. The singers continue by weaving their lines around the chorale melody. This melody returns in the final stanza of the cantata, where the first verse of Agricola's hymn is sung in full, harmonised in the usual way and accompanied by full orchestra. In the mean time, a recitative is followed by a beautifully expressive alto aria, pastoral in its feel (as befits the words that speak of scattering and reaping, though here referring to love and to the soul). One of Bach's little masterpieces! A further recitative is followed by a bass aria more athletic than attractive. The chorale ends this short cantata.
Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.
Today's performance is by the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir under the direction of Ton Koopman. Enjoy!


Photo © 2012 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

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