Motets - JS Bach 1685-1750/Funeral Sentences - Henry Purcell 1659-1695
Sunday 22 July 1990, 8.00pm
Pre-concert talk 7.30pm
Sacred Heart Cathedral
Directed by Simon Ravens
The Bach motets are some of the greatest - and most virtuosic - of all choral works, and they represent Bach at his exuberant best. In particular, the large double choir works Singet dem Herrn and Der Geist Hilf, and the four part Lobet den Herrn give the impression of being festive works written for major celebrations. But ironically the Bach motets were actually written for civic funerals whilst Bach was at Leipzig. Only in the largest of the motets, Jesu, meine Freude, is the festive spirit balanced by darker and more intense music.
Purcell's Funeral Sentences, on the other hand, fall much more into line with our expectations of funeral music. Composed for the funeral of Queen Mary II in the closing years of Purcell's life, these sombre and highly chromatic pieces for soloists and chorus offer a fascinating contrast to the Bach motets. Taken together, the works in this concert show how two of the greatest minds of the Baroque approached music for similar functions in radically different ways.
Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied: J.S. Bach
Funeral Sentences: Henry Purcell
Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf: Bach
Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden: Bach
Hear me, O Lord: Purcell
Jesu, meine Freude: Bach
This concert was part of the Subscription Series.