Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday Bach - 14th Sunday after Trinity

The first hints of Autumn
Today's cantata is the second of the three that Bach composed for the 14th Sunday after Trinity. BWV 78, Jesu, der du meine Seele (Jesus, you are my soul) was written in Leipzig in 1724, and is one of Bach's early chorale cantatas, composed at a time when he was still developing his approach to the format and considered one of his best. Here's what Simon Crouch has to say:
Cantata 78 starts with one of the most glorious choruses in all music. In the form of a passacaglia above a chromatic descending motif built from a basically simple figure and incorporating the chorale melody, this astonishing piece simply takes the breath away. An equally astonishing contrast is provided by the following movement: Wir eilen - We hasten with weak but diligent steps to you for help, Oh Jesus, Oh Master which you simply have to hear to believe! The accompaniment simply patters along. It's difficult but to picture members of the congregation having to stifle a few giggles. A recitative is followed by a tenor aria with a delicious obbligato flute part. A further recitative is followed by another aria, this time with a lovely sinuous oboe part. A straightforward chorale setting finishes the cantata.

For more on this astoundingly beautiful cantata, do please look at Marshall's essay On Bach's Universality in his collected essays. "I can think of no more spectacular demonstration of Bach's powers of synthesis, his unparalleled combinatorial genius…"

Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch.
Today's video is a performance by the Collegium Vocale under the direction of Philippe Herreweghe. Enjoy!


Photo © 2017 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

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