Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday Bach - 18th Sunday After Trinity

Fall Asters
This week's cantata for the 18th Sunday after Trinity is BWV 96, Herr Christ, der einige Gottessohn (Lord Christ, the only son of God), composed and performed in Leipzig in 1724. What captures the attention is that beautiful piccolo accompaniment in the opening chorus, adding a note of cheer and light, which Bach continues through the rest of the cantata. This is indeed a bright, cheerful work from a usually pretty somber Bach. Here's what Simon Crouch had to say about it:
If you enjoy BWV 1 How brightly shines the morning star then perhaps this is the next cantata that you should turn to. A different hymn (by Elisabeth Kreutziger) but the same allusion: He is the Morning Star….far brightest star of all and musically (in the first chorus) a similar treatment. The sparkling opening chorus is one of my favourites and is unusual in having a flauto piccolo (equivalent to our sopranino recorder) chattering beautifully away at the top of the orchestra. Also unusual is that the alto line holds the cantus firmus. After a recitative, the tenor da capo aria is quite long but the level of inspiration is more than enough to hold the attention; the flute has an especially enjoyable line. The bass aria is, perhaps, a lot more straightforward but conveys the text well and the cantata finishes with an especially fine chorale harmonisation.
Copyright © 1996 & 1998, Simon Crouch. 
This week's performance is from a 1978 recording by the Concentus Musicus Wien with the Tölzer Knabenchor under the direction of Nicholas Harnoncourt. Enjoy!


Photo © 2012 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

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