Bach and Beyond

In our next concert Bach and Beyond we are turning to the great tradition of German sacred music from the baroque and romantic eras.

One of Johann Sebastian Bach’s great motets, Lobet dem Herrn, starts the programme and is mirrored at the end of the concert by two motets by Johannes Brahms Ach, arme Welt and O Heiland, reiss die Himmel auf.

In between we are offering three rarities. The 5 motets we are singing from Israelsbrünnlein by Johann Schein (Bach’s predecessor at Leipzig) are remarkable for their expressiveness and rhythmic invention. Written in the style of Italian madrigals, they are firmly in the Lutheran tradition of Schűtz and Bach, setting words from the Old Testament and were meant for liturgical and domestic performance. For these seventeenth century pieces we will be joined by Duo Labryinthe; Jadran Duncomb (theorbo) and Claire Bracher (viola da gamba).

Max Reger is well known for his organ music but he wrote some fantastic motets and sacred songs. We will be singing three of these including the 8-part Der Mensch lebt und bestehet. The Austrian Hugo Wolf, best known for his songs, wrote a remarkable set of sacred part-songs regarded by some as amongst the finest choral works of the late Romantic. Like the Reger works these pieces are written in a homophonic style that has its origin in the harmonic tradition and style of the Lutheran chorale.

Finally, at the centre of the programme we are singing the unaccompanied 8-part motet Denn Er hatt seinem Engeln befohlen by Felix Mendelssohn. This motet was later included in ‘Elijah’ where it appears with an orchestral accompaniment.