The Bachfest in Leipzig is a mecca for devotees of Johann Sebastian Bach. In this week's show, we take you to the opening concert of the most recent edition of the festival.
Johann Sebastian Bach's music is alive and well in Leipzig, the city where he worked for decades and in which many of his most important works were crafted. The musical stronghold in eastern Germany celebrates that heritage with its annual Bachfest, where the focus this year was on Bach and his son Carl Philipp Emanuel under the festival motto, "The True Art."
In this week's show, we're at the Bachfest's opening concert, hearing works solely by the master composer himself. One other way in which Leipzig cultivates its Bach traditions is through its support of the Saint Thomas' Boys Choir, a centuries old choral institution once led by the man of the hour. We'll hear them performing alongside vocal soloists and the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra on Bach's Magnificat in D Major, BWV 243.
Of the sense of continuity the boys in the choir maintain and pass on, conductor Gotthold Schwarz tells us, "The boys have a wonderful way of largely taking care of it themselves. As in: the older ones pass on traditions, beginning with everyday life but also including the music they make - right up to church music and cantatas. I think this tradition is an ongoing process. It keeps renewing itself and is always there."
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Meine Seele erhebt den Herren (My soul glorifies the Lord), fugue on the Magnificat, BWV 733
Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit (God the Father in Eternity), BWV 669
Christe, aller Welt Trost (Consulation to the Entire World), BWV 670
Kyrie, Gott heiliger Geist (God, Holy Spirit), BWV 671
Ullrich Böhme, organ
Recorded by Deutsche Welle (DW) in St. Thomas' Church, Leipzig on June 13 and 16, 2014
Johann Sebastian Bach
Magnificat in D Major, BWV 243
Julia Sophie Wagner, soprano
Susanne Krumbiegel, mezzo-soprano
Benno Schachtner, male alto
Martin Petzold, tenor
Andreas Scheibner, bass
St. Thomas' Boys Choir, Leipzig
Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra (Ensemble in residence)
Members of the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra
Gotthold Schwarz, conductor
Recorded by Central German Radio, Halle (MDR) in St. Thomas' Church, Leipzig on June 13, 2014
Rebroadcasting rights: One broadcast before September 11, 2015