Sunday 5 October 2014, 12:00 pm
Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 116 (Thou Prince of Peace, Lord Jesus Christ);
Fantasia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 537;
Lass, Fürstin, lass noch einen Strahl, BWV 198 (Let, Princess, just one more glance)
Iain Ledingham director
Margaret Faultless leader
Performed on historical instruments
Michael Papadopoulos organ
The second funerary masterpiece of this season is the Mourning Ode, ‘Lass, Fürstin, lass noch einen Strahl’ BWV 198. This work has a unique place in the canon: more than a cantata, less than a Passion, a work of the Enlightenment yet a sharp critique of Enlightenment thought, its singular characteristics stem from the occasional circumstances of its genesis. Following the death of Chistiane Eberhardine, Electoress of Saxony, on 5th Sept 1727, a Leipzig student Carl von Kirchbach asked permission to hold a mourning oration at the university church, with an ode by Gottsched set to music by Bach. The event took place on 17th October, two days after Bach had completed the work. He set Gottsched’s strophic text ‘against the grain’, partitioning its nine strophes irregularly into ten musical numbers, and treating it like a cantata with choruses, arias and recitatives. The music is exceptionally rich in instrumental colour and in Baroque musical tropes of mourning, including
Passion-like choruses and the soft sounds of viols and lutes.
‘A wonderful sense of binding intimacy… surely a glimpse of heaven’ Evening Standard
‘Du Friedenfürst, Herr Jesu Christ’ BWV 116 was written for the Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Trinity, 26th November 1724. Based on Jakob Egbert’s seven-verse hymn from 1601, its text dwells on the help of God in times of trouble. The opening chorus, a vigorous chorale prelude, is followed by an expressive aria for oboe d’amore and alto in the special key of F sharp minor. The cantata also contains a rare vocal trio — for soprano, tenor and bass — that covers an exceptionally wide harmonic range in its illustration of the text ‘Your merciful heart broke when the pain of the fallen drove you to us in the world’.
Tickets £13 (concessions £10), season discounts available, on sale online at www.ram.ac.uk/events, by telephone 020 7873 7300 from Monday 8th September (weekdays, 10.00am–4.00pm).
Each cantata concert begins at midday and lasts around one hour. The Academy’s restaurant will be open for light refreshments from 10.30am until the start of each concert.