Saturday, 31 March 2018


“A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.” - Mahatma Gandhi 

J.S. Bach (1685 – 1750) wrote an enormous amount of music (much of it secular), however, like most composers of his age, he spent most of his professional life writing and directing music for the church. Consequently, he wrote well over 200 sacred cantatas (sometimes up to one a month) to provide music for the busy church calendar. 209 survive to the present day and of these, around 25 were written for the period starting on Easter Sunday and ending on Pentecost, four weeks later. Therefore, we have an embarrassment of riches to choose from for this season. Here is his “Der Himmel lacht, die Erde jubilieret” BWV 31 of 1715.

1. Sonata
2. Chorus (S, A, T, B) at 2:33
The heavens laugh!
The earth doth ring with glory,
And all she beareth in her lap;
Our Maker liveth!
The Highest standeth triumphant
And is from bonds of death now free
He who the grave for rest hath chosen,
The Holy One, seeeth not corruption.
3. Recit. (B) at 6:09
O welcome day!
O soul, again be glad!
The A and O,
The first and also last one,
Whom our own grievous guilt in death’s own prison buried,
Is now torn free of all his woe!
The Lord was dead,
And lo, again he liveth;
As liveth our head, so live as well his members.
The Lord hath in his hand
Of death and also hell the keys now!
He who his cloak
Blood-red did splash within his bitter passion,
Today will put on finery and honour.

Text: Salomo Franck. 21 April 1715, Weimar 1
Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Ton Koopman, Director

1 comment:

  1. Happy Easter Nicholas ! Bach for Easter...good choice.