Bach Motets Return

June 18, 2022 at 8pm
Eglinton St George’s United Church

Tafelmusik Chamber Choir
Directed by Ivars Taurins

With members of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra

Program curated by Ivars Taurins


Johann Sebastian Bach Suite no. 6 in G Major, BWV 1012: Allemande
Keiran Campbell, violoncello

Prelude in C Major, BWV 870b
Charlotte Nediger, organ

Kyrie-Christe, du Lamm Gottes, BWV 233a

Sonata in C Major, BWV 1005: III. Largo
Geneviève Gilardeau, violin

Johann Christoph Bach Motet: Ich lasse dich nicht

J.S. Bach Prelude in F Major, BWV 880
Charlotte Nediger, harpsichord

Motet: Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf, BWV 226

Partita in D Minor, BWV 1004: Giga
Geneviève Gilardeau, violin

J.S. Bach Chorale: Jesu, meine Freude, BWV 358
Johann Michael Bach Motet: Halt, was du hast

J.S. Bach Suite no. 5 in C Minor, BWV 1011: Sarabande
Keiran Campbell, violoncello

Johann Christoph Bach Sterb Aria: Mit Weinen hebt sichs an

J.S. Bach Flute Partita, BWV 1013, arranged: Bourree anglaise
Brandon Chui, viola

J.S. Bach Motet: Singet dem Herrn, BWV 225

J. Ch. Bach Sterb Aria: Es ist nun aus


Tafelmusik Chamber Choir

Soprano
Francine Labelle, Roseline Lambert, Carrie Loring, Lindsay McIntyre, Meghan Moore, Susan Suchard, Sinéad White

Alto
Kate Helsen, Simon Honeyman, Valeria Kondrashov, Peter Mahon, Jessica Wright

Tenor
Paul Jeffrey, Will Johnson, Robert Kinar, Cory Knight

Bass
Alexander Bowie, Parker Clements, Nicholas Higgs, Keith Lam, Alan Macdonald

Continuo

Keiran Campbell, violoncello
Pippa Macmillan, double bass
Charlotte Nediger, organ


Text & Translation

J.S. Bach Kyrie-Christe du Lamm Gottes, BWV 233a

Kyrie eleison.
Christe, du Lamm Gottes,
der du trägst die Sünd der Welt,
erbarm dich unser.
 
Christe eleison.
Christe, du Lamm Gottes,
der du trägst die Sünd der Welt,
erbarm dich unser.
 
Kyrie eleison.
Christe, du Lamm Gottes,
der du trägst die Sünd der Welt,
Gib uns deinen Frieden.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, you Lamb of God,
that takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
 
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, you Lamb of God,
that takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
 
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, you Lamb of God,
that takest away the sins of the world,
grant us your peace.

Johann Christoph Bach: Ich lasse dich nicht
(Genesis 32:26)

Ich lasse dich nicht,
du segnest mich denn.
Mein Jesu, ich lasse dich nicht.
du segnest mich den.
I will not let thee go,
except thou bless me,
My Jesus, I will not let thee go,
except thou bless me.

J.S. Bach: Der Geist hilft unsrer Schwachheit auf
(Romans VIII: 26-27; Martin Luther)

Der Geist hilft unsrer Schwachheit auf,
denn wir wissen nicht, was wir beten sollen,
wie sich’s gebühret;
sondern der Geist selbst vertritt uns aufs beste
mit unaussprechlichem Seufzen.
 
Der aber die Herzen forschet, der weiß,
was des Geistes Sinn sei,
denn er vertritt die Heiligen nach dem,
das Gott gefället.
 
Du heilige Brunst, süßer Trost,
nun hilf uns fröhlich und getrost
in dein’m Dienst beständig bleiben,
die Trübsal uns nicht abtreiben.
O Herr, durch dein’ Kraft uns bereit
und stärk des Fleisches Blödigkeit,
daß wir hier ritterlich ringen,
durch Tod und Leben zu dir dringen.
Halleluja, halleluja.
The spirit helps our infirmities,
for we know not what we should pray for,
what is fitting;
but the spirit itself makes intercession for us
with unutterable sighs.
 
Whosoever searches the hearts knows
what is the mind of the spirit,
because it makes intercession for the saints
according to the will of God.
 
You heavenly passion, sweet comfort,
now help us with joy and confidence
to remain constant in thy service,
do not drive affliction from us.
O Lord, prepare us through thy power
and strengthen the feeble flesh
that we may strive here nobly
to come to thee through life and death.
Alleluia, alleluia.

Johann Sebastian Bach: Chorale “Jesu, meine Freude”
Johann Michael Bach: Halt, was du hast
(Revelation 3:11, 2:10; Johann Frank, 1653)

Halt, was du hast,
daß niemand deine Krone nehme,
und sei getreu bis in den Tod.
So wirst du empfahen
ein herrliches Reich,
und eine schöne Krone
von der Hand des Herren.
Drum sei getreu bis in den Tod.
 
Jesu, meine Freude,
meines Herzens Weide,
Jesus, meine Zier,
Ach wie lang, ach lange
ist dem Herzen bange
und verlangt nach dir.
Gottes Lamm, mein Bräutigam,
außer dir soll mir auf Erden
nichts sonst Liebers werden.
 
Weg mit allen Schätzen,
du bist mein Ergetzen,
Jesus, meine Lust.
Weg, ihr eitlen Ehren!
Ich mag euch nicht hören,
bleibt mir unbewußt!
Elend, Not, Kreuz, Schmach und Tod,
soll mich, wenn ich schon muß leiden,
nicht von Jesu scheiden.
 
Gute Nacht, o Wesen,
das die Welt erlesen,
mir gefällst du nicht.
 
Gute Nacht, ihr Sünden,
bleibet weit dahinten,
kommt nicht mehr ans Licht!
 
Gute Nacht, du stolze Pracht!
Dir sei ganz, du Lasterleben,
Gute Nacht gegeben.
Hold fast what you have,
lest someone steal your crown,
and be faithful unto death.
Then you will receive a
splendid kingdom
and a fair crown
from the Lord’s own hand.
Be faithful unto death.
 
Jesus, my joy,
my heart’s pasture,
Jesus, my treasure,
ah how long, how long
has my heart been afraid
and longed for thee.
Lamb of God, my bridegroom,
there is nothing more dear to me
upon this earth than thee.
 
Away with all treasures,
thou art my delight,
Jesus, my joy.
Away, you vain glories!
I will not listen to you,
remain unknown to me!
Misery, distress, torment, shame, and death
will not, if I must endure them,
separate me from Jesus.
 
Good night, o being
who cherishes the world;
you do not please me.
 
Good night, you sins,
stay far behind me,
and come no more into the light!
 
Good night, proud vainglory!
May you, life of iniquity,
be granted a final good night.

J.Ch. Bach: Mit Weinen hebt sichs an
(Anonymous)

Mit Weinen hebt sich’s an,
dies jammervolle Leben,
es muss das kleinste Kind
der bittern Tränen Schar
sich weinend untergeben,
eh’ es sich noch besinnt.
Wenn’s kaum geboren ist,
so höret man doch schon,
dass sich bei ihm erhebt
der schmerzenvolle Ton.
 
Das Mittel unsrer Zeit
ist überschwemmt mit Sorgen,
wir sind des Glückes Spiel.
Der weinet durch die Nacht
bis an den lieben Morgen,
und hilft ihm doch nicht viel.
Der Furcht- und Hoffnungsstreit
zerquälet unsern Sinn
und nimmt, eh man es denkt,
die besten Jahre hin.
 
Das Alter kömmt herbei,
die kummervollen Jahre,
die uns gefallen nicht,
und führen uns den Weg
zur trüben Totenbahre.
Wann dieses dann geschieht,
so ist es aus mit uns;
der tränenvolle Lauf
hat nun das Ziel erreicht
und hört mit Weinen auf.
It begins with weeping,
this wretched life;
the smallest child must
submit, weeping,
to the host of bitter tears
before he is yet aware.
He is scarcely born,
but already is heard
the anguished sound
rising from him.
 
The mid-time of our life
overflows with tribulation,
we are the playthings of fate.
He who weeps all night
until the welcome morning
finds little relief.
The struggle of fear and hope
torments our minds,
and takes from us, before we know it,
our best years.
 
Old age approaches,
the sorrowful years,
that hold no pleasure,
and lead our way
to the dismal funeral bier.
When this comes to pass,
then it is ended for us;
the tear-filled course
has attained its goal,
and ends its weeping.

J.S. Bach: Singet dem Herrn
(Psalm 149 & 150; chorale text by Johann Gramann)

Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied,
die Gemeine der Heiligen sollen ihn loben.
Israel freue sich des, der ihn gemacht hat.
Die Kinder Zion sei’n fröhlich über ihrem Könige,
sie sollen loben seinen Namen im Reihen,
mit Pauken und mit Harfen sollen sie ihm spielen.
                              
Chor 1: Aria
Gott, nimm dich ferner unser an;
denn ohne dich ist nichts getan
mit allen unsern Sachen;
drum sei du unser Schirm und Schild,
und trügt uns unsre Hoffnung nicht,
so wirst du’s ferner machen,
wohl dem, der sich nur steif und fest
auf dich und deine Huld verläßt.
                              
Chor 2: Choral
Wie sich ein Vater erbarmet
über seine junge Kinderlein,
so tut der Herr uns allen,
so wir ihn kindlich fürchten rein,
er kennt das arm Gemächte,
Gott weiß, wir sind nur Staub,
Gleichwie das Gras vom Rechen,
ein Blum und fallend Laub,
der Wind nur drüber wehet,
so ist es nicht mehr da,
also der Mensch vergehet,
sein End, das ist ihm nah.
                              
Lobet den Herrn in seinen Taten,
lobet ihn in seiner großen Herrlichkeit.
Alles, was Odem hat, lobe den Herrn.
                              
Halleluja.
Sing unto the Lord a new song,
and his praise in the congregation of saints.
Let Israel rejoice in him that made him.
Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.
Let them praise his name in the dance; let them
sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.
                                  
Choir 1: Aria
God, continue to take care of us,
for without you all our efforts
lead to nothing.
Therefore you are our shield and light
and do not disappoint our hope,
so you will continue.
Blessed is he who steadfastly relies
on you and your grace.
                              
Choir 2: Chorale
Just as a father pities
his own young children,
so does the Lord towards us all,
so, like children, we meekly fear him.
He knows our poor handiwork,
God knows we are but dust,
like grass at reaping,
like a flower and falling leaf,
the wind blows over it,
and it is no longer there.
Thus man passes away,
his end is near.
                              
Praise the Lord for his mighty acts,
praise him according to his excellent greatness.
Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord.
                              
Alleluia!

J.Ch. Bach Sterb Aria “Est ist nun aus”
(Anonymous)

Es ist nun aus mit meinem Leben,
Gott nimmt es hin, der es gegeben.
Kein Tröpflein mehr ist in dem Fass,
es will kein Fünklein mehr verfangen,
des Lebens Licht ist ausgegangen.
Kein Körnlein läuft mehr in dem Glas,
es ist nun aus, es ist vollbracht,
Welt, gute Nacht!
                              
Komm, Todestag, du Lebenssonne,
du bringest mir mehr Lust und Wonne,
als mein Geburtstag bringen kann,
du machst ein Ende meinem Leiden,
das sich schon mit den Kindtaufsfreuden
vor jenen hat gefangen an.
Nun ist es aus, es ist vollbracht,
Welt, gute Nacht!
                              
Was wollet ihr euch nach mir sehnen?
Ei, stillet, stillet eure Tränen,
weil meine schon gestillet sind,
mir wischt sie Jesus von den Augen,
was sollen denn die euren taugen,
und lachet mit mir als ein Kind.
Was Jesus macht, ist wohlgemacht!
Welt, gute Nacht!
Now my life is at an end,
God receives it, he who gave it.
Not the smallest drop remains in the vessel,
not a single spark will catch,
life’s light is extinguished.
Not one grain remains in the hourglass,
it is now ended, it is accomplished,
world, good night!
                              
Come, day of death, o sun of life,
you bring me more joy and bliss
than the day of my birth,
you put an end to my suffering,
which before the joys of christening
had already begun.
Now it is ended, it is accomplished,
world, good night!
                              
Why would you grieve for me?
Ah, still your tears,
for mine are stilled already;
Jesus wipes them from my eyes;
of what use then are yours;
laugh with me like a child.
That which Jesus does is well done!
World, good night!

Program Notes
By Ivars Taurins

The Bach motets are to singers what his solo music for violin, cello and keyboard are to the players of those instruments. They are ever challenging and ever rewarding, treasures that offer the performers an intimate experience of Bach. John Eliot Gardiner describes the motets as “the most perfect, and in some ways the most hypnotic, set among his works.” They are perhaps the only works of Bach to have been performed continuously since they were written, lying at the very core of the repertoire of the Thomasschule in Leipzig, and reaching a wider audience once they were published in 1802. The Bach family had been composing motets for generations, and Bach assembled a selection of motets by his forebears in the Altbachisches Archiv, a wonderful manuscript which had been lost in the second World War, but which was rediscovered in Kyiv in 1999.

In putting together this program, we began by choosing the two most extended of Bach’s motets. Jesu, meine Freude was probably commissioned by a bereaved family to be sung at a funeral. The text combines the verses of Romans 8 with the words of a well-known hymn by Johann Franck by alternating the chorale stanzas with the biblical texts. Singet dem Herren, scored for two choirs, is essentially an orchestral concerto, conceived for voices. When Mozart visited Leipzig in 1789 he apparently heard a performance of the motet. An eyewitness, Friedrich Rochlitz, recalled, “Now his whole soul seemed to be in his ears. When the singing was finished he cried out full of joy, ‘Now, there is something one can learn from!’”

We also include three works from the Alt-Bachische Archiv, including two hauntingly beautiful Sterb-Arien (funeral arias) written by Johann Christoph Bach, the cousin of Johann Sebastian’s father. His music was of great influence on J.S. Bach, who described his works as “profound.” The deceptive simplicity of Mit Weinen hebt sich’s an (It begins with weeping) belies a metrical complexity of which only those reading the music are aware. The listener is aware only of a lilt, a sort of lullaby for the soul of the departed, and a curiously soothing setting of an anonymous text on the ages of man that offers little comfort. The setting of the final words of each verse of the exquisitely simple Es ist nun aus — “Welt, gute Nacht” (World, good night) — is mesmerizing.

The third work from the Archiv is the double-choir motet Ich lasse dich nicht. In J.S. Bach’s hand, it was assumed for many years to be a work of his cousin Johann Christoph. More recently, scholars think it may be an early work by Johann Sebastian. It owes much in style to the work of his older cousins.

To introduce the sequence of motets we offer Bach’s setting of a Kyrie overlaid with Luther’s German version of the Agnus Dei, the texts that begin and end a Catholic mass. To weave this all together we return to the idea of the intimate, interspersing movements from Bach’s remarkable works for solo instruments.


Thank You to our Generous Donors

Tafelmusik is deeply grateful to our generous donors who have continued to support us through this challenging time. Your support has inspired us to remain strong and to deliver joy to our community through our music, and will enable us to persevere until we can once again perform live for you, our cherished patrons. Thank you for believing in Tafelmusik and in the power and beauty of music.

If you would like to make a gift, please click here or contact us at donations@tafelmusik.org.


Season Presenting Sponsor

Thank you to our government sponsors

Learn more about early music

Read our blog to learn more about baroque music, composers, instruments, our own orchestra, choir, and much more.