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Vornehme Hochzeitsgesellschaft

Vornehme Hochzeitsgesellschaft (Distinguished Wedding party) by Wolfgang Heimbach, 1637. Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany.

I’m in the middle of St. Matthew Passion concert weekend now with California Bach Society. If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, please come to Hertz Hall in Berkeley today, Sunday October 9, at 3:30, you will be glad you did. We have excellent vocal and instrumental soloists, the Baroque orchestra and 40-voice choir sound wonderful, and the exquisite treatment of the chorales by our director Paul Flight is not to be missed. As a cherry on the cake, we have a children’s choir joining us for the opening and closing choruses of the first half. To read more about the connection between this blog and the Great Passion, please see my post from last week.

This week, while doing dishes, packing dinners, promoting our concerts on Facebook, and making spreadsheets for the youth choir logistics, I listened to several recordings of the 1723 cantata for this Sunday: cantata 162 Ach! ich sehe, itzt, da ich zur Hochzeit gehe, and can safely say I recommend Bach Collegium Japan’s recording of this cantata. It has the most sensitive playing in the instrumental opening and the best interpretation of the bass aria and the soprano aria in my opinion.

Listen to the recording of cantata 162 by Bach Collegium Japan on Spotify. Soloists: Soprano: Yumiko Kurisu, Counter-tenor: Yoshikazu Mera, Tenor: Makoto Sakurada, Bass: Peter Kooy.

Read the text here, and find the score here.

Bach wrote this cantata in Weimar, and performed it there on October 25, 1716. For the performance in Leipzig on October 10, 1723, he added a corno da tirarsi to the instrumentation (the Bach Collegium Japan recording is based on the Weimar version, and thus doesn’t feature the corno da tirarsi).

A very short explanation of the cantata, thanks to Eduard van Hengel: Cantata 162 is based on the Gospel text for this Sunday: Jesus compares the heavenly kingdom with the wedding of a King’s son. Many guests decline the invitation, and several of those who do come are sent away because they are not properly dressed. Since the relationship between Jesus and the soul of the believer is compared to the bond between groom and bride, the believers will be at first concerned that they will not be allowed to join the wedding (cantata movements 1-3), but can then rejoice in their conviction that Jesus, through his suffering, will provide the proper dress for them (cantata movements 4-6).

To read more in Dutch, please go to Eduard van Hengel’s website; to read more in English, find Gardiner’s notes about this cantata here.

Wieneke Gorter, October 9, 2016