Sunday, June 23, 2019

Sunday Bach - Trinity 1

Pennsylvania Farm
The first Sunday after Trinity starts Ordinary Time, the period of lessons from the parables of Jesus. This week's parable is from Luke 16: 19-31, the story of Lazarus and Dives, showing the gap between rich and poor and the duty to feed and render aid to the poor. Bach wrote three cantatas for this Sunday, and I've chosen his first offering as the Cantor at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, BWV 75, Die Elenden sollen essen, daß sie satt werden (The wretched should eat, that they may be full, Leipzig 1723). Bach had already pleased his employers with the two cantatas he'd written as his job application, and now he was all set to wow the folks who would be listening every week, the congregation at the Thomaskirche. This one has all kinds of bells and whistles meant to impress the audience. Here's the late Craig Smith of Emmanuel Music:
BWV 75 is one of the longest and grandest of all of the cantatas. It and its companion piece BWV 76 were the first two pieces written after Bach's appointment to be Cantor at Leipzig. The opening chorus is in two parts: a slow, halting section illustrating the plight of the hungry and a quicker, but still expressive fugue begun by four soloists and then taken up by the chorus. The themes of helping the poor and the evil of pride and selfishness are taken up in the bass recitative and further elaborated upon in the lovely lyrical tenor aria with oboe and strings. The other theme, the Bible reading that we must suffer for an eternity for our sins, is proclaimed by the tenor in the following recitative. The soprano takes a lovely, childlike point of view in the aria with oboe d'amore solo. After a recitative the chorus sings a beautiful, elaborated version of the chorale "Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan." That chorale then appears played by a high trumpet in the sinfonia that starts the second part of our cantata. The alto aria is melancholy and insistent, a new mood in this cantata. The bass brings back a positive note with both the recitative and the bravura aria with trumpet and strings. Another tenor recitative ushers in the second performance of the elaborated chorale "Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan." 
© Craig Smith
This week's performance is from a recording by the Collegium Vocale Gent under the direction of Philippe Herreweghe. Enjoy!

Photo © 2015 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

No comments:

Post a Comment