1 CD - 442 119-2 - (p) 1994


Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) KOMMT, EILET UND LAUFET, BWV 249 - Easter Oratorio

43' 41"

- Sinfonia
4' 08"

- Adagio
4' 12"

- Choir und Duet (Tenor, Bass): "Kommt, eilet und laufet"
5' 35"

- Recitativo (Alto, Soprano, Tenor, Bass): "O kalter Männer Sinn!"
0' 54"

- Aria (Soprano): "Seele, deine Spezerein"
10' 50"

- Recitativo (Tenor, Bass, Alto): "Hier ist die Gruft"
0' 40"

- Aria (Tenor): "Sanfte soll mein todeskummer" 7' 25"

- Recitativo and Arioso (Soprano, Alto): "Indessen seufzen wir mit brennender Begier" 0' 53"

- Aria (Alto): "Saget, saget mir geschwinde" 5' 50"

- Recitativo (Bass): "Wir sind erfreut" 0' 37"

- Choir and Allegro: "Preis und Dank"
2' 23"

29' 30"

- Choir: "Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen"
5' 19"

- Recitativo (Tenor): "Der Herr Jesus hub seine Hände auf"
0' 29"


- Recitativo (Bass): "Ach, Jesu, ist dein Abschied schon so nah?" 1' 04"

- Aria (Alto): "Ach, bleibe doch, mein Liebstes Leben" 6' 56"

- Recitativo (Tenor): "Und ward aufgehoben yusehends" 0' 24"

- Choral: "Nun lieget alles unter dir" (Choral) 1' 03"

- Recitativo (Tenor, Bass): "Und da sie ihm nachsahen gen Himmel fahren" 1' 01"

- Recitativo (Alto): "Ach, ja! So komme bald zurück" 0' 35"

- Recitativo (Tenor): "Sie aber beteten ihn an" 0' 38"

- Aria (Soprano): "Jesus, deine Gnadenblicke" 6' 58"

- Choral: "Wenn soll es doch geschehen" 4' 48"

Monika Frimmer, Soprano
Ralf Popken
, Alto
Christoph Prégardien
, Tenor
David Wilson-Johnson
, Bass
Elizabeth Wallfisch
, Violin
Lisa Beznosiuk
, Flute
Anthony Robson
, Oboe and Oboe d'amore
Susan Sheppard
, Cello
Nicholas Parle
, Organ

, Direction


Luogo e data di registrazione
St. Giles Cripplegate, London (England) - Aprile 1993

Registrazione: live / studio

Artist and reppertoire production

Stef Collignon

Recording producer
Martha de Francisco

Balance engineer

Ko Witteveen

Recording engineer

Jan Wesselink

Tape editor

Jean van Vugt | Martha de Francisco

Art direction

George Cramer

Prima Edizione LP

Edizione CD
Philips | LC 0305 | 442 119-2 | 1 CD - durata 73' 23" | (p) 1994 | DDD

Cover Art

"Resurrection" by Caravaggio (1573-1610).


Easter Oratorio, BWV 249
It is surprising that a work whose music possesses such immediacy of appeal is so seldom performed. Bach’s Easter Oratorio, however, has a complicated pedigree. In February 1725 the composer produced a secular cantata, “Entfliehet, verschwindet,” BWV 249a, for the birthday of Duke Christian of Saxe-Weissenfels - he whom Bach had previously honoured in 1713 with another birthday treat, the so-called “Hunting” Cantata (BWV 208). Then, in April of the same year, Bach and his librettist, Picander, parodied the earlier birthday cantata, rewrote the recitatives and perhaps made other small adjustments, too. In this form, and now dressed in sacred clothes the work was performed in Leipzig on Easter Day, 1725. That version has not survived, but in 1726 Bach revived the piece again, this time as a birthday offering to Count Joachim von Flemming (1665-1740) and with a revised text “Verjaget, zerstreuet,” BWV 249b. The Count was the Elector’s military governor of Leipzig for whom Bach later composed two further cantatas, “So kämpfet nur, ihr muntern Töne," BWV Anh. 10, and “O angenehme Melodei,” BWV 210a. It has also been suggested that Bach performed his poignantly expressive motet, “O Jesu Christ, mein Lebens Licht,” BWV 118, at the Count’s funeral in 1740. For almost a decade afterwards the cantata remained undisturbed, until in 1735 the text was revised once more, probably by Picander, when it assumed the title “Kommt, eilet und laufet” and was termed an oratorio for the first time. A singlefurther revision took place sometime during the 1740s when Bach converted the opening duet into a chorus.
Though concise, in comparison with the Christmas Oratorio or those written by German contemporaries such as Telemann, “Kommt, eilet und laufet” qualifies for the term, as opposed to that of cantata, by the fact that it contains passages of narrative. But it differs from many of its companions inasmuch as the “dramatis personae” are not named, and biblical text is not used at all, the role of Evangelist thus being dispensed with. So we have a work that, while conforming in broad terms with Bach’s sacred cantata or Kirchenstück, is nonetheless cast somewhat in the Italian Baroque oratorio tradition.
Bach’s biographer, Philipp Spitta, remarked with evident dismay that “all that is most beautiful and significant in the history of the Resurrection... has not been made any use of ”; yet the skill with which Bach set Picander’s text, and his deeply affecting response to it, suggest not only that the composer found it complementary to his own requirements but that the sacred context was envisaged from the very first. There are no anomalies between words and music here and the often vivid, always masterly word-painting with which the work is generously endowed suggests a close identification by Bach with his textual subject matter.
The opening orchestral Sinfonia is in two strongly contrasting parts: first, a richly scored D major Allegro for flute, two recorders, two oboes, oboe d‘arnore, three trumpets, timpani, strings and continuo with an important bassoon part. This is followed by a poignantly expressive Adagio in B minor for solo oboe - Bach later designated this movement for a transverse flute - over a dotted string accompaniment at the conclusion of which it seems at least possible that Bach once intended a return to the opening section. As it stands the voices enter in the oratorio's third section, which takes up the character, key, metre and instrumentation of the opening movement. Written as a duet for tenor and bass with chorus, this movement may originally have provided, as Arnold Schering and others have suggested, the finale of a lost concerto, the preceding sections providing its first and second movements.
The remaining arias, one each for soprano, tenor and alto respectively, are all of high quality. The first, accompanied by flute or violin obbligato, is in B minor and is a joyful contemplation of the soul. In the second aria, one of the expressive peaks of the oratorio, the voice is accompanied by two treble recorders doubling muted strings at the octave. The third aria introduces an oboe d'amore as obbligato, with the strings. This dance-like movement in the bright and radiant key of A major urgently asks the question “Tell me quickly. where can I find Jesus, whommy soul loves?" And at the close of the second section leading back to the da capo Bach intensifies this pasionate longing with a brief four-bar adagio at the words "for without You my heart is sorely orphaned and distressed." A final chorus reintroduces the full instrumental forces of the opening. Cast in [wo parts (adagio-allegro) rather in the manner of a French ouverture, it brings the oratorio to a brilliant conclusion.
Ascension Oratorio, BWV 11
Bach himself called this work Oratorium auf Himmelfahrt (Oratorio for Ascension). He wrote it in 1735 and performed it at Leipzig on the Feast of the Ascension (19 May) that year. Although BWV 11 is hardly longer than a great many of the church cantatas - the Biblical account of the Ascension is, after all, comparatively brief compared with the Christmas and Epiphany stories which Bach had used as the basis of his extended Christmas Oratorio of the previous year - it is an oratorio in more than just its name. It contains, for instance, lines of New Testament scripture, drawn mainly from the Gospels of St Mark, St Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, presented by a Narrator. Interspersed with these are commentaries and reflections on the narrated text; thus, unlike the cantatas, which tell no continuous story, and among which it should not be classified, the oratorio relates the sequence of events surrounding Christ’s Ascension into Heaven. In common with the Christmas Oratorio, that for Ascension incorporates music which Bach had written earlier but which nonetheless shows evidence of careful revision to suit its new context and circumstances. Indeed, only the four narrative sections for the Evangelist, the two accompanied recitatives and the centrally placed chorale would appear to have been newly composed for the oratorio.
The work, of which Bach’s autograph score has been preserved and of which, more recently, his own vocal and instrumental parts have come to light, begins with a vigorous D major chorus, richly orchestrated for three trumpets, pairs of oboes and flutes, timpani, strings and continuo. The music had already been heard both in a cantata inaugurating the renovated Thomasschule in 1732 and in another celebrating the nameday of Augustus III the following year. Then follows a sequence of recitatives, arias and two chorales. As in the Christmas Oratorio and the two great Passions the declamation of the tenor Evangelist is in recitativo semplice, whereas the reflective non-Biblical recitatives are accompanied in a variety of ways. A single exception to this pattern is the affecting duet, for tenor and bass, of the two men in white apparel. Two arias only break up what is otherwise an almost continuous pattern of recitative. The first, in A minor, for alto voice, violins and continuo was parodied from a secular cantata which Bach had written a decade earlier. In its final and best known form it became the Agnus Dei of the Mass in B minor, BWV 232. The second, in G major, for soprano with flutes, oboe, violin, viola but without continuo, may also be a parody composition from the same work none of whose music, however, has survived. in each of the two chorale-based movements Bach harmonises a different hymn melody. The first (No. 6) is the melody “Ermuntre dich, mein schwacher Geist” while the second is a harmonisation of the tune “Von Gott will ich nicht lassen," which serves as a cantus firmus sustained in the vocal soprano line. This is accompanied by the full orchestra and brings the oratorio to a resonant conclusion.
Nicholas Anderson