Concert Diary

Oxford Bach Soloists: Behold and See
Aug
4
3:00 PM15:00

Oxford Bach Soloists: Behold and See

CANTATAS FOR 7th, 8th, 9th, AND 10th SUNDAYS AFTER TRINITY

JS BACH

Ärgre dich, o Seele, nicht (Do not be confounded, o soul), BWV 186
Erforsche mich, Gott, und erfahre mein Herz (Examine me, God, and know my heart), BWV 136
Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht (Lord, do not pass judgment on Your servant), BWV 105
Schauet doch und sheet (Behold and see, if there be any sorrow like my sorrow), BWV 46

Recycling was very much a part of the 18th century composer’s armory, and Bach’s efforts were the most inventive. Cantata 186, which started life in Weimar 1716, is presented in its later, expanded version.

Cantata 136 opens with one of the most confident choruses ever written. Rushing semiquaver scales skirl about the horn heralding the main tune. Bach later recycled this chorus as the ‘Cum Sancto Spiritu’ of the Lutheran Mass in A (BWV 234).

Cantata 105 holds us in breathless suspense with the most beautiful plaintive soprano aria. Cantata 46 stands unique among the two hundred cantatas for grim power and tense drama, and its opening section came to be re-used in the B minor Mass.

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Oxford Bach Soloists: Sanctus
Sep
1
3:00 PM15:00

Oxford Bach Soloists: Sanctus

CANTATAS FOR THE 11th, 12th, AND 13th SUNDAYS AFTER TRINITY

JS BACH

Siehe zu, daß deine Gottesfurcht nicht Heuchelei sei (See to it, that your fear of God be not hypocrisy), BWV 179
Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele (Praise the Lord, my soul), BWV 69a
Du sollt Gott, deinen Herren, lieben (You shall love God, your Lord), BWV 77
Sanctus in C major, BWV 237

A stirring Sanctus in C major, and three cantatas with big statements: BWV 179 preaches against hypocrisy with marvelous directness; BWV 77 illustrates the second of Jesus’ two commandments recounted in the gospel narratives – to ‘love thy neighbour as thyself’ – in a potent musical doctrine foreshadowing Brahms’s German Requiem; and BWV 69a enjoins us to praise the Lord and ‘do not forget what good He has done for you!’ with brilliant trumpet trills and vigorous arpeggios.

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Oxford Bach Soloists: Sound In My Body
Oct
6
3:00 PM15:00

Oxford Bach Soloists: Sound In My Body

CANTATAS FOR 14th, 15th, 16th, AND 17th SUNDAYS AFTER TRINITY

JS BACH

Es ist nichts Gesundes an meinem Leibe (There is nothing sound in my body), BWV 25
Warum betrübst du dich, mein Herz (Why do you trouble yourself, my heart), BVW 138
Christus, der ist mein Leben (Christ, he is my life), BWV 95
Bringet dem Herrn Ehre seines Namen (Bring to the Lord the honour due), BWV 148

Throughout the long summer and autumn Trinitarian period, the Lutheran lectionary’s emphasis on sin and sickness in mind and body reaches full tilt in expressions such as ‘The whole world is but a hospital’ in Cantata 25. But Bach’s music is the ‘balm of Gilead’ that heals all, above the ceaseless lament.

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Oxford Bach Soloists: Help My Unbelief
Nov
3
3:00 PM15:00

Oxford Bach Soloists: Help My Unbelief

CANTATAS FOR THE 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd SUNDAYS AFTER TRINITY

JS BACH

Ich elender Mensch, wer wird mich erlösen (Wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me), BWV 48
Ach! ich sehe, itzt, da ich zur Hochzeit gehe (Ah! I see, now, when I go to the wedding), BWV 162
Ich glaube, lieber Herr, hilf meinem Unglauben (I believe, dear Lord, help my unbelief), BWV 109
Was soll ich aus dir machen, Ephraim (What shall I make of you, Ephraim), BWV 89

The cantatas Bach was writing at this time deal with the theme of Christians rejecting the material world and its temptations so as not to risk losing union with God. Cantata 162 relates to the parable of the royal wedding feast to which ‘many are called but few are chosen’.

The inner conflict between belief and doubt in Cantata 109 is depicted by sharp switches between two ‘voices’ sung by the same person, and the contrast between human imperfection and divine grace is brought out in the remarkable bass aria which opens Cantata 89.

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Oxford Bach Soloists: Magnificat & Cantatas for Christmas
Dec
24
5:00 PM17:00

Oxford Bach Soloists: Magnificat & Cantatas for Christmas

JS BACH

Preise, Jerusalem, den Herrn (Praise the Lord, Jerusalem), BWV 119
Christen, ätzet diesen Tag (Christians, engrave this day), BWV 63
Sehet, welch eine Liebe (Behold, what a love has the Father shown to us), BWV 64
Magnificat in E flat major (with Christmas interpolations), BWV 243a

Bach’s first Christmas in Leipzig comes with an explosion of festive music. After Advent’s ‘tempus clausum’ (closed period), Bach laid on nine major pieces for his singers and instrumentalists to master, including the Magnificat in E flat major, more commonly heard in its later D major version.

First performed on Christmas Day in St Nicholas’s with his very grand Cantata 63, it was repeated on St Stephen’s Day (26 Dec) in St Thomas’s. On the Third Day of Christmas Bach performed Cantata 64, a reflection of sheer wonder and joy at the birth of Christ.

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Oxford Bach Soloists: The Heavens Are Telling
Jun
30
3:00 PM15:00

Oxford Bach Soloists: The Heavens Are Telling

CANTATAS FOR THE 2nd AND 4th SUNDAYS AFTER TRINITY

JS BACH

Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes (The heavens are telling the glory of God), BWV 76
Ein ungefärbt Gemüte (An unblemished conscience), BWV 24
Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben (Heart and mouth and deed and life), BWV 147

Keen to impress the congregations in Leipzig, Bach’s first Cantatas in his new role set the bar extraordinarily high. Both Cantata 75 (for Whit Sunday) and Cantata 76 are written on a great scale consisting of 14 movements, in two parts divided by the sermon, and display magnificent choruses.

Cantata 24 was written and performed two weeks later, and Cantata 147 on the Feast of the Visitation of Mary featuring two identical pastoral chorales, famously known in the English-speaking world as Jesu, joy of man’s desiring.

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New Chamber Singers: Music for Double Choir
Jun
23
7:00 PM19:00

New Chamber Singers: Music for Double Choir

Tom Hammond-Davies will be guest conducting the New Chamber Singers

Mendelssohn: Ehre sei Gott
Boyce: Jubilate
Praetorius: In dulci Jubilo
Stanford: Coelos ascendit hodie
Ouseley: O saviour of the world
Randall Thompson: Have ye not heard?-Ye shall have a song.

For more information, please visit the New Chamber Singers website

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New Chamber Singers: Music for Double Choir
Jun
22
7:00 PM19:00

New Chamber Singers: Music for Double Choir

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Tom Hammond-Davies will be guest conducting the New Chamber Singers

Mendelssohn: Ehre sei Gott
Boyce: Jubilate
Praetorius: In dulci Jubilo
Stanford: Coelos ascendit hodie
Ouseley: O saviour of the world
Randall Thompson: Have ye not heard?-Ye shall have a song

For more information, please visit the New Chamber Singers website

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Oxford Bach Soloists: Whit Sunday
Jun
2
3:00 PM15:00

Oxford Bach Soloists: Whit Sunday

CANTATAS FOR WHIT SUNDAY AND 1st SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY

JS BACH

Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten (Dissipate, you troublesome shadows), BWV 202 – Soloist: Aimee Presswood
Wer mich liebet (Whoever loves me will keep my word), BWV 59
Die Elenden sollen essen (The meek shall eat and be satisfied), BWV 75

Barely arrived in Leipzig, Bach probably announced himself with Cantata 59 on Whit Sunday 1723 (16 May), six days before his family joined him. Eight days later, he began his first Leipzig cantata cycle with Cantata 75.

Consisting of 14 movements, this expansive cantata confirms Bach’s mighty enthusiasm as he entered upon his duties. The secular Cantata 202 for solo soprano was most likely composed for a wedding.

Traditionally thought to have been for his own wedding to Anna Magdalena in 1721, it contains one of the most celebrated of all Bach’s arias, Sich üben im Lieben.

Visit the Oxford Bach Soloists website to book!

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Oxford Bach Soloists: Lutheran Vespers
May
19
5:45 PM17:45

Oxford Bach Soloists: Lutheran Vespers

JS BACH

Es ist euch gut, daß ich hingehe (It is good for you that I go away) BWV 108

A service of Lutheran Vespers featuring Bach’s Cantata 108 Es ist euch gut, daß ich hingehe. Performed by New College Choir, conducted by Robert Quinney, with the orchestra of the Oxford Bach Soloists.

ADMISSION FREE (first come, first served)

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Edington Arts Choral Workshop
May
18
9:30 AM09:30

Edington Arts Choral Workshop

Tom will be working with participants on four short choral jewels, that may not be well known to some, but are immensely singable and will be a great addition to everyone’s repertoire.

Ranging from 16th to 19th century the pieces will offer a varied and interesting day.    Robert Parsons’ “Ave Maria” is always the final piece sung at the final service of the Edington Music Festival.   We will also tackle two pieces by Henry Purcell:  “Thou knowest Lord” from the Funeral Sentences for Queen Mary and “I was glad”.   And finally Anton Bruckner’s “Ave Maria” which we are promised is a ‘passionate, thickly-scored, great sing’.

Registration 0930, finish approximately 1600

Places £20, 10% discount for Edington Angels, £10 for full time students.  Copy hire (all) £2 in total.

BOOK NOW

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Oxford Bach Soloists: Word of Thunder
May
5
3:00 PM15:00

Oxford Bach Soloists: Word of Thunder

CANTATAS FOR THE LAST SUNDAYS IN TRINITY

JS BACH

Höchsterwünschtes Freudenfest (Most highly desired festival of joy), BWV 194
O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort (O eternity, you word of thunder), BWV 60
Es reißet euch ein schrecklich Ende (A horrible end will carry you off), BWV 90
Wachet! betet! betet! wachet! (Watch! pray! pray! watch!), BWV 70

On 2nd November 1723, Bach was in Störmthal and performed Cantata 194 to dedicate their new organ. Full of extrovert colours, Bach adapts the structure and style of an orchestral suite into cantata form. Easter Day falls late this year and so we bring forward the cantatas Bach wrote for the final Sundays in Trinity.

These dramatic works deal with the subject of Christ’s second coming as judge of the world, and warn us to keep watch and pray (Cantata 70) or face a terrifying outcome (Cantata 90).

Visit the Oxford Bach Soloists website to book!

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Oxford Bach Soloists: Easter Oratorio
Apr
20
5:00 PM17:00

Oxford Bach Soloists: Easter Oratorio

JS Bach

Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis (I had much grief), BWV 21
Oster-Oratorium (Easter Oratorio), BWV 249

Soprano: Aileen Thomson
Mezzo-soprano: Esther Brazil
Tenor: Ruairi Bowen
Baritone: Humphrey Thompson

One of Bach’s earliest Weimar cantatas Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis is performed here in its first Leipzig version. Complete with 11 movements, the story takes us from darkness to blazing light. This journey from grief to joy is echoed in Bach’s dramatic Easter Oratorio. Told by four characters Mary Magdalene, Mary Jacobe, Simon Peter, and John the Apostle, it canters to the end in triumphant victory.

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Oxford Bach Soloists: St John Passion
Apr
19
1:30 PM13:30

Oxford Bach Soloists: St John Passion

JS Bach

Johannes-Passion (St John Passion), BWV 245

Evangelist: Ben Johnson
Christ: Humphrey Thompson
Pilate: Tom Lowen

One of Bach’s best loved works, the St John Passion was first performed on Good Friday of 1724 in the St. Nicholas Church, Leipzig. ‘More daring, forceful and poetic’ than the St Matthew Passion, according to Schumann, this operatic work is presented by an ensemble of soloists, four-part choir, strings and basso continuo together with pairs of flauti traversi and oboes doubling on oboe da caccia. Bach also uses viola d’amore and viola da gamba to create special colours within the instrumental mix.

The narrative is led by the Evangelist with an impressive line-up including Jesus, Pilate, Peter, a maid and a servant.

Visit the Oxford Bach Soloists website to book!

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Workshop: Engaging with the Humanities
Mar
27
12:00 PM12:00

Workshop: Engaging with the Humanities

Leaders have an important role to play, but often the synchronicity of teams is the real secret of high performance.

What role do leaders play in achieving and maintaining this? How do leaders help teams get in sync and stay there?

Musical ensembles understand the importance of this innately. In this talk, Dr Harrison will explore how musicians work with each other, acknowledging a conductor’s “lead” but also deploying other mechanisms to get and stay in sync. The audience will also be invited to participate in some interactive exercises to experience for themselves how synchronicity emerges.

Find out more on the Saïd Business School website

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