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Oxford Bach Soloists: Help My Unbelief

  • New College Chapel Holywell Street Oxford, England, OX1 United Kingdom (map)

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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