Johann Sebastian Bach: Motet BWV 227 “Jesu, meine Freude” | Vox Luminis, Lionel Meunier, Zsuzsi Tóth, Maria Valdmaa, Caroline Weynants, Victoria Cassano, Alexander Chance, Jan Kullmann, Robert Buckland, Philippe Froeliger, Sebastian Myrus, Haru Kitamika

Bach’s motet, Jesu meine Freude, performed by Vox Luminis, Lionel Meunier, director. Live, 4K video from the Berkeley Early Music Festival 2018. Presented by the San Francisco Early Music Society. The ensemble Vox Luminis, led by Lionel Meunier, specialises in English, Italian and German repertoire from the 17th and early 18th century and is internationally acclaimed for its unique sound. A core of vocal soloists is supplemented, depending on the repertoire, with an extensive continuo, solo instruments or a complete orchestra. Vox Luminis is artist in residence at Concertgebouw Brugge.

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And the San Francisco Early Music Society at

Audio and video recorded by Voices of Music at BFX2018

Notes from Wikipedia: “Jesu, meine Freude is one of the few works by Bach for five vocal parts. It may have been composed for a funeral, but scholars have come to doubt a 1912 dating to a specific July 1723 funeral in Leipzig, a few months after Bach had moved to that town. Chorale settings from the motet are included in the Dietel manuscript, which dates from around 1735. At least one of the eleven movements seems to have been composed before Bach’s tenure in Leipzig.

[Musicologist and Bach scholar] Christoph Wolff suggested that the motet may have been composed for education in both choral singing and theology. Unique in its complex symmetrical structure juxtaposing hymn text and Bible text, the motet has been regarded as one of Bach’s greatest achievements in the genre.

It was the first of his motets to be recorded, in 1927.” Zsuzsi Tóth, Maria Valdmaa, Caroline Weynants, sopranos; Victoria Cassano, mezzo-soprano Alexander Chance, Jan Kullmann, counter-tenors; Robert Buckland, Philippe Froeliger, tenors Sebastian Myrus, Lionel Meunier, basses Haru Kitamika, organ Text Jesu, meine Freude, Meines Herzens Weide, Jesu, 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. Unter deinem Schirmen Bin ich vor den Stürmen Aller Feinde frei. Laß den Satan wittern, Laß den Feind erbittern, Mir steht Jesus bei. Ob es itzt gleich kracht und blitzt, Ob gleich Sünd und Hölle schrecken: Jesus will mich decken. Trotz dem alten Drachen, Trotz des Todes Rachen, Trotz der Furcht darzu! Tobe, Welt, und springe, Ich steh hier und singe In gar sichrer Ruh. Gottes Macht hält mich in acht; Erd und Abgrund muss verstummen, Ob sie noch so brummen. Weg mit allen Schätzen! Du bist mein Ergötzen, Jesu, meine Lust ! Weg ihr eitlen Ehren, Ich mag euch nicht hören, Bleibt mir unbewusst! Elend, Not, Kreuz, Schmach und Tod Soll mich, ob ich viel 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 Stolz und Pracht! Dir sei ganz, du Lasterleben, Gute Nacht gegeben. Weicht, ihr Trauergeister, Denn mein Freudenmeister, Jesus, tritt herein. Denen, die Gott lieben, Muß auch ihr Betrüben Lauter Zucker sein. Duld ich schon hier Spott und Hohn, Dennoch bleibst du auch im Leide, Jesu, meine Freude. Jesus, my joy, pasture of my heart, Jesus, my adornment ah how long, how long is my heart filled with anxiety and longing for you! Lamb of God, my bridegroom, apart from you on the earth there is nothing dearer to me. Beneath your protection I am free from the attacks of all my enemies. Let Satan track me down, let my enemy be exasperated – Jesus stands by me. Even if there is thunder and lightning, even if sin and hell spread terror Jesus will protect me . I defy the old dragon, I defy the jaws of death, I defy fear as well! Rage, World, and spring to attack: I stand here and sing in secure peace. God’s might takes care of me; earth and abyss must fall silent, however much they rumble on. Away with all treasures! You are my delight, Jesus, my joy! Away with empty honours, I’m not going to listen to you, remain unknown to me! Misery, distress, affliction, disgrace and death, even if I must endure much suffering, will not separate me from Jesus. Good night, existence chosen by the world, you do not please me. Good night , you sins, stay far behind me. Come no more to the light1 Good night , pride and splendour, once and for all, sinful existence, I bid you good night. Go away, mournful spirits, for my joyful master, Jesus, now enters in. For those who love God even their afflictions become pure sweetness. Even if here I must endure shame and disgrace, even in suffering you remain, Jesus, my joy Translation from Bach Cantatas Website by Francis Browne

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