Schola Cantorum: Bach Family Motets and Cantatas

Event time: 
Sunday, October 16, 2011 - 4:00pm
Event description: 

Yale Schola Cantorum Masaaki Suzuki, conductor

Bach Family Motets and Cantatas

With members of Yale Baroque Ensemble



Old West United Methodist Church
131 Cambridge Street

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2011 | 8PM

St. Mary’s Church, 5 Hillhouse Ave

Presented with support from Yale School of Music


Johann Sebastian Bach was part of a long line of musicians with the name Bach who worked as town and church musicians in a number of towns and cities in Germany during the 17th and 18th centuries. Three generations of the family are represented on this program: Johann Bach (1604- 1673) was the brother of Johann Sebastian Bach’s grandfather, and his motet “Unser Leben” is an expressive piece about the futility of human life; the next generation is represented by Johann Michael (1648-1694) and Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1703), two brothers who were both uncles of Johann Sebastian. Both were also prolific composers, and Johann Sebastian would later characterize the latter as the great “expressive composer.” The two pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach on the program are of a contemplative character: one is the famous funeral motet “Jesu meine Freude,” an intriguing setting of one of the most popular hymns from the 17th century; and the other is one of Bach’s earliest cantatas, “Ich hatte vielBekümmernis.”

The pieces on the program are united not only by their family name, but also by their common interest in expressivity, and the creative ways in which congregational hymns are woven into complex musical settings.