Bach and the lament

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Sat 30 September 2017 16:30

Mike Fentross, conductor

Antonio Vivaldi – Concert for Strings in G minor, RV 156
George Frederic Handel – from Agrippina: Voi che udite il mio lamento
Henry Purcell – from Dido and Aeneas: Dido's lament and With drooping wings
Johann Sebastian Bach - Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, Cantata BWV 12

Bach composed the cantata Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen in 1714. Two years earlier Prince Johann Ernst von Sachsen-Weimar had returned to Weimar after spending two years studying in Utrecht. He brought with him a chest full of scores by Vivaldi that had just been published in Amsterdam. Bach’s introduction to and arrangements of the Vivaldi concertos would have a huge influence on his development as a composer.
The first part of the Vivaldi concerto grosso is based on a so-called lament bass, a descending tetrachord, with or without chromatic intermediary notes, from tonic to dominant. The opening chorus of Bach’s cantata (in fact a lament) and Dido's lament were also composed on a similar bass line.
At the age of 21, Henry Purcell, the ‘British Orpheus’ and ‘master of the ground’, composed one of the most moving laments in the history of music in Dido's lament. The Lament for Ottone from Handel’s opera Agrippina is heart-breaking and gains even greater depth and power from the plaintive oboe. The story goes that Handel regularly burst into tears as he was composing the work. Thanks to Bach, the programme ends on a positive and consoling note: the trumpet playing the plainsong melody Jesu meine Freude cutting through the still semi-grieving tenor. The cantata concludes with the chorale Was Gott tut, das is wohlgetan.



Sat 30 September 2017 16:30


Grote Kerk Alkmaar, Koorstraat 2, Alkmaar

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