J.S. Bach / Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe, BWV 22 (Herreweghe)


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Cantata BWV 22: Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe (7 February 1723)

1. Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe (Chorus and Arioso: T,B)
2. Mein Jesu, ziehe mich nach dir (Aria: A) 04:48
3. Mein Jesu, ziehe mich, so werd ich laufen (Recitative: B) 09:15
4. Mein alles in allem, mein ewiges Gut (Aria: T) 11:25
5. Ertöt uns durch dein Güte (Chorale) 14:22

Alto: Matthew White
Tenor: Jan Kobow
Bass: Peter Kooy

Collegium Vocale Gent performs under the direction of Philippe Herreweghe. Recorded by Harmonia Mundi France in 2007.

“From a biographical perspective, Quinquagesima was a memorable date for Bach. For on this day in 1723 he performed the two cantatas he had composed as test-pieces, which eventually gained him the post of Thomaskantor. The process was extraordinarily complicated, and was obviously followed with close attention by contemporaries. There was even a report on the event in a national newspaper; the Hamburger Relationscourier wrote a week later: ‘Last Sunday morning, the Kapellmeister to His Highness the Prince of Cöthen, Mr. Bach, performed his audition in St. Thomas’s Church for the currently vacant position of Kantor, and the music of the same was much praised on that occasion by all knowledgeable persons.’ As can be conclusively established thanks to the performance material, which luckily is still extant, two complete cantatas were heard in the course of this service, one before the sermon and one after. The works in question were Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe (BWV 22) and Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn (BWV 23).

“It is already clear on a first attentive hearing of these two compositions that Bach strove here to set forth his full technical capacities and at the same time his ‘artistic program’. This can be seen both in the care taken over the elaboration of the cantatas and in the wealth of musical ideas they contain. Bach’s ‘program’ consisted–loosely speaking–in the renewal of strict polyphonic technique with the resources of a sophisticated, up-to-date melodic, rhythmic and harmonic language. The cantata BWV 22, Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe, which was probably the work performed before the sermon, begins with a densely contrapuntal orchestral texture incorporating the words of the Gospel for the day (Luke Chap. 18 v. 31 and 34), shared between tenor and bass. This movement leads into an energetic choral fugue which is especially striking for its syncopated rhythms. The two arias that follow embody very different affects. The first–in C minor–translates the yearning prayer enunciated in the text into an eloquent cantilena for solo oboe. Great harmonic skill is displayed in the bold modulation to the distant key of C flat major at thewords ‘ich will von hier…zu deinen Leiden gehn’ (I will go from hence…to thy Passion). After an impressively scored accompagnato recitative comes the cheerful, dance-like second aria, which despite its airy tone presents numerous traits of compositional virtuosity in almost playful fashion. The concluding chorale seems like a distant homage to Johann Kuhnau. The simple four-part setting is embedded in a concerted orchestral texture–an old Leipzig tradition, but implemented here for the first time with melodic charm and grace.”–Peter Wollny

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