RAM / Kohn Foundation Bach Cantata Series

See a concert featuring two cantatas by J.S. Bach at the Royal Academy of Music. ‘Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen’ is an Easter cantata, and ‘Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben’ is best known for containing the famed ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’.

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Programme

Bach, Johann Sebastian (1685-1750), Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen - Cantata, BWV66

Bach, Johann Sebastian (1685-1750), Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben - Cantata, BWV147

Artists

Iain Ledingham, Director

Rachel Podger, Leader

Jennifer France, Soprano

Leo Tomita, Alto

Rupert Charlesworth, Tenor

Frederick Long, Bass

‘Erfreut euch, ihr Herzen’ takes its place among the cantatas which Bach performed in 1724 during his first Easter festival at Leipzig. Its music, though, goes back to his time at Cöthen when he performed it, with a secular text, for the birthday of his musically enlightened employer, Prince Leopold. The richly orchestrated and joyful opening chorus sets the prevailing mood of the work, where bright keys and dance rhythms predominate. Among arresting features is a virtuoso violin obbligato accompanying a duet for alto and tenor. ‘Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben’, in its extended Leipzig form, dates from July 1723 when Bach performed it on the Feast of the Visitation. Yet, like the other cantata in the programme, much of its music was composed earlier in his life: the opening chorus and at least three of its four arias originally belonged to an Advent cantata for the Weimar court chapel in 1716. Splendid though the opening chorus undoubtedly is, it is the chorale settings that conclude the two parts of the work which steal the show. Popularly known as ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’, the choir declaims hymn verses around which Bach has woven an independent accompaniment in lilting quavers.

Royal Academy of Music, Duke's Hall

Marylebone Road
London Greater London United Kingdom NW1 5HT