J.S. Bach, Cantata BWV 62, at Advent I

The text of Cantata 62 is anonymous, but, as in cantata 61, uses Luther’s hymn at the outset. This opening chorus is spell-binding and masterful: strong, expansive in measure (6/4), and impressive, with magnificently and affectively telling writing in the orchestra, especially the oboes, and the cantus firmus (Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland) emphasized by…

J.S. Bach – Cantata 136, at Trinity VIII

The cantata considers themes of mortal hypocrisy and divine judgment. The cantata’s bass recitative first bewails the ubiquity of impurity, then insists, in arioso, that, nonetheless, in Christ one comes to righteousness and exaltation. And so, as is explained in the duet, difficult but in apostolic 12/8 metre, for tenor, bass, and strings, all of…

J.S. Bach – Cantata 95, at Trinity XVI

Cantata 95 (1723), a fine work, is infused with great intensity of the longing for death and the repudiation of mortality. Its fifth movement, an aria for tenor, is of exquisite and astonishing beauty, and certainly one of Bach’s masterpieces: Ach, slage doch bald, selge Stunde, den allerletzen Glockenschlag! (Ah, strike quickly, blessed hour, the…

J.S. Bach: Cantatas for Trinity I through VII

The subject of the book is the religious considerations, both philosophical and didactic, and the artistry enabling them, in the cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach. It is available on Amazon, Apple, Nook, Kobo, and other international distributors in ebook and print editions. It is written from the point of view of the congregant, who, though…