J.S. Bach: Meine Seel erhebt den Herren, BWV 10 (Ton Koopmann, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir)

submitted by Marvin's Underground Music Ondemand on 05/08/18 1

Bachfest Leipzig 2003 / From the Church of St. Thomas, Leipzig Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir Deborah York, soprano Bogna Bartosz, contralto Jörg Dürmüller, tenor Klaus Mertens, bass Ton Koopmann, conductor and organist 0:13 I. Meine Seel erhebt den Herren (Chorus) (3:44) 4:00 II. Herr, der du stark und mächtig bist (Soprano) (6:15) 10:12 III. Des Höchsten Güt und Treu (Tenor) (1:11) 11:22 IV. Gewaltige stößt Gott (Bass) (2:45) 14:08 V. Er denket der Barmherzigkeit (Contralto, Tenor) (2:04) 16:09 VI. Was Gott den Vätern (Tenor) (1:58) 18:11 VII. Lob und Preis sei Gott (Chorus) (2:17) +++ My soul magnifies the Lord Johann Sebastian Bach confessed once that he'd found it hard to become a cantor after being a kapellmeister. Although the position of cantor at St Thomas's church in Leipzig was one of the most highly regarded of its kind, and its occupant in effect the director of music to both the city and its university, it took Bach three months to make up his mind to move from the court of the prince of Anhalt-Köthen to the great commercial centre of Leipzig. He was far from the first choice for the appointment: on the death of Johann Kuhnau in June 1722, the city fathers had first approached Georg Philipp Telemann, Johann Friedrich Fesch and Christoph Graupner, and only when all three had declined did they turn to Bach. He and his family eventually moved into the official residence in the schoolhouse next to St Thomas's on 22 May 1723. The churchgoing burghers of Leipzig clearly did not fall over themselves to welcome the newcomer. His predecessor Kuhnau, Thomaskantor from 1701 to 1722, had the reputation of a "universal man", learned in the fields of "theology, the law, rhetoric, poetry, mathematics, foreign tongues and music" (Jakob Adlung, 1758), which Bach could not begin to rival. Kuhnau remained true to the traditions of the 17th century and firmly eschewed operatic elements in his vocal music, so that it was already old-fashioned in the eyes of younger contemporaries. But connoisseurs like the music critic Johann Adolph Scheibe found grounds to praise his late works: "He struve constantly to ensure that all his church pieces were melodic, easy-flowing and often very moving." Kuhnau's Magnificat demonstrates the versatility of this still underrated composer in its expressive and well-contrasted sections. Alternating between solos, some affectingly delicate and some virtuosic, and festive tuttis, Kuhnau vividly charts the emotional course of the Virgin Mary's song of praise - while keeping each section short because the Latin Magnificat was sung at Vespers in the Christmas season, and therefore could not be allowed to go on for too long. lt was traditional in Leipzig to interpolate German and Latin numbers appropriate to the Christmas story: here the annunciation to the shepherds ("Vom Himmel hoch", "Freut euch") is followed by the angels' hymn of praise ("Gloria") and the cradie song beside the manger ("Virga Jesse"). The Magnificat was sung at Vespere on Saturdays and Sundays in Leipzig in the German translation by Martin Luther ("Meine Seele erhebt den Herrn"), in simple fourpart settings of a melody that went back to a medieval plainchant. The same melody is prominent in Johann Sebastian Bach's cantata Meine Seel erhebt den Herrn BWV 10, heard in the soprano part in the choral first movement, as an instrumental descant in the duet "Er denket der Barmherzigkeit", and given to the sopranos again in the final chorale section. This cantata was composed for the feast of the Visitation (celebrating Mary's visit to her cousin Elizabeth: Luke 1,39-56) on 2 July 1724; the unknown librettist combined excerpts from Luther's German version of the Bible text with lines of his own. The first version of Bach's Latin Magnificat (in E fiat major, BWV 243a (was performed for the first time exactly one year earlier, on 2 July 1723. The work is usually heard nowadays in the later version (in D major, BWV 243), which probably dates from 1733. The later version differs from the first only in details, but the deeper sound of the E flat trumpets and the use of recorders to accompany the alto aria "Esurientes implevit bonis" give the earlier version a unique charm. For Bach, this Magnificat was his first chance to demonstrate the expressive power and modernity of his style to a Leipzig congregation in a substantial composition: it makes a fresher, more secular effect than the rest of his sacred music, and, like Kuhnau's Magnificat, it is performed here with the interpolations that Bach probably composed for its performance at Christmas 1723.

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