Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sunday Bach - Tenth Sunday After Trinity

Soon after his death Bach's music passed into obscurity; the chase after the newest trend has a tendency to leave quality behind in its quest. It wasn't until the mid 1800s that his music was raised from obscurity and put back into its preeminent place in Western musical development. Today's featured cantata - BWV 102, Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben! (Lord, your eyes look after faith), Leipzig 1726 - was one of the first to be published, in 1830, after the long hiatus. And it truly does have a prized place in Bach's compositions. Here's what the late Craig Smith of Emmanuel Music had to say:
Bach Cantata BWV 102 was one of six cantatas published early in the 19th century, long before the complete Bach Edition, as examples of the then rather unknown composer's art.  Certainly our cantata is a brilliant example of Bach at his brilliant and austere best.  The opening chorus is like granite. Both the rigorous opening statement and the two highly individual fugues are brilliantly incorporated into the austere texture.  This is Bach at his most unforgiving and Lutheran.  The alto aria with obbligato oboe is on a more personal, almost theatrical note. The bass aria with strings has extraordinarily high energy. Its stunning end on a question mark is but one of its unique features.  The spiky tenor aria with violin obbligato continues the nastiness of the opening chorus. An extended alto recitative with two oboes leads us into the brilliant harmonization of "Vater unser im Himmelreich" that ends the cantata.
Today's performance is from the 2002 recording by the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir under the direction of Ton Koopman. Enjoy!

Photo © 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

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