JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH WROTE HIS MOST SUBLIME MUSIC FOR THE CHURCH.
From 1723 he was employed as Cantor at the Choir School of St. Thomas in Leipzig, which included writing music for the five principal city churches. In the Lutheran principal service the 'cantata' was the main musical item with a text related to the gospel reading of the day. The Advent Cantatas presented here are wonderfully diverse, both in style and in orchestration.
'Schwingt freudig euch empor' (Ring out joyfully to the stars on high) opens with a Chorus (one on a part) followed by a tenor, bass and soprano aria in that order; ending with a Chorale.
'Bereitet die Wege....'(Make ready the ways, make ready the path) opens with a soprano aria, tenor recitative,bass aria,alto recit. & aria closing with a chorale.
'Instrumental Suite 'Nun komm....' This is actually a chorale, trio and quintet. Very well performed by the Arcadia Ensemble.
'Nun Komm, der Heiden Heiland'(Now come, Saviour of the people)opens with an 'ouverture' followed by a tenor recit. & aria, a bass recitative, soprano aria and a 'Amen chorus
The performance of these cantatas was well-done both instrumentally and vocally. The solo voices were skilled in this genre and sang with much emotion. Moreover, they were vocally flexible and the diction was quite good. I especially enjoyed the soprano voice of Teri Dunn who sings with a free and expansive tone quality; her arias were delightful!The tenor voice of John Tessler was resonant and bouyant. The aria and voice that made the most impression on me personally was Matthew White's lovely countertenor sound: rich, and sonorous with wonderfully expressive interpretation that showed beautifully in his aria: 'Christi gleider....'
These cantatas bring out Bach's amazing abilities: they show his spiritual power a solid strength and sincerity that cannot be traced to technique, but to the inspiration of pure genius!