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Bach Vespers with cantata BWV 23

For our first Bach Vespers of 2018, we will perform J. S. Bach’s cantata Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn BWV 23 for St Anne’s Lutheran Church in London. Bach performed the cantata for his audition for the position of Kantor at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig in 1723.

Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn deals with healing the blind near Jericho: the blind man call Jesus in the first movement, and begs Jesus not to pass in the second. In the last movement Bach presents an extended version of “Christe, du Lamm Gottes”, the German Agnus Dei of the Lutheran mass.

Given this expressive use of the familiar mass text, we have invited the Bach Singers Prize winner of 2017 Jessica Dandy to join us for Bach Vespers. At the conclusion of the service, Jessica will sing Bach’s setting of the Agnus Dei from that indelible masterpiece, the B Minor Mass BWV 232. We will also perform Luther’s own setting of Christe, du Lamm Gottes and parts of a quartet by the German baroque composer Johann Gottlieb Janitsch based on the chorale O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden, familiar to many from Bach’s Passion settings.

Bach Vespers at 6.30pm on Sunday 11 February 2018 is free to attend (with a voluntary collection) and last about an hour. Tea & coffee are available.

Bach Cantata 84 at the Dutch Church

At the beginning of this new year, we are pleased to have been invited back to the Dutch Church in the City of London to perform Bach Cantata Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Glücke BWV 84 for solo soprano and the motet Lobet den Herrn BWV 230. Our colleague Emily Atkinson will perform this beautiful solo cantata, which is the centrepiece of a an afternoon cantata service at the Dutch Church, the first under the stewardship of the church’s new Predikant, Bertjan van de Lagemaat, who will speak to introduce the cantata. The organist of the church, celebrated soloist David Titterington, will play Jesus Christus unser Heiland BWV 665 and the Prelude and Fugue in C major BWV 545 on the main organ at the beginning and end of the service.

The Dutch Church’s cantata service at 3pm on Sunday 28 Jan 2018 is free to attend, with a voluntary collection.

Christmas Oratorio (abridged, Ger & Eng) with Eclectic Voices, 16 Dec

We’re very pleased to be able to share that we are going to perform an abridged version of J. S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio on 16 December at St. Paul’s Church, Covent Garden. Bach’s Weinachts-Oratorium is a perennial favourite for the festive season and we’re delighted to be renewing our collaboration with the north London choir Eclectic Voices under the direction of Scott Stroman (with whom we performed Bach’s Ascension Oratorio earlier in the year).

It is part of the ethos of Scott Stroman’s various projects that they should be available and accessible for everyone to come and experience. Consequently, in a bold experiment the reflective arias will be performed in the language for which they were composed – German – but the narrative recitatives, telling the nativity story inbetween, will be performed in English.

Jenni Harper (soprano), Clara Kanter (alto), Robin Bailey (tenor) and Cheyney Kent (bass) are the soloists for this special event. Tickets are available from the church and we advise early booking to secure a seat (please go here for the Facebook event).