Masaaki Suzuki, conductor
The Yale Schola Cantorum and period instrument ensemble Juilliard415 present Baroque masterworks by Johann Adolf Hasse and Johann Sebastian Bach. Hasse’s Miserere in C Minor, originally composed for the all-female chorus and orchestra of the Ospedale degli Incurabili in Venice and later reworked for SATB chorus, divides the psalm text and the subsequent doxology among eight movements in the style of the opera works for which the composer was most famous. Ranging in affect from intensely pleading to energetically joyful, the piece was instantly adopted as a masterpiece upon its first performance.
Bach’s Laß, Fürstin, laß noch einen Strahl (BWV 198) occupies a unique position in the composer’s output as one of a small number of secular cantatas. Written in 1727 for the University of Leipzig’s memorial service for Christiane Eberhardine, the Lutheran Electress of Saxony, the piece helped to codify Bach’s position at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig. At the same time, however, it provoked controversy, as Bach was selected over the University’s organist to prepare music for the service. Regardless, and in spite of the difficult time constraints under which Bach was forced to write and prepare the piece for performance, the end result is a stellar work and a staple of the composer’s output from this time period.
The Concerto in D Minor of Johann Friedrich Fasch is typical of the composer’s style in several ways: the pairing of winds is very characteristic, as is his habit of having the solo instruments comment on the orchestral material in brief asides or interjections. The opening Allegro, full of galant triplets and dotted figures, moves in surprising directions, with a sudden urgency from the very beginning. The soloists offer a series of extended echoes of the orchestral material, then embark on some wonderfully inventive solo espisodes of their own. The 6/8 Andante is full of pastoral calm, and is followed by an ingeniously extended minuet as the final movement, with wonderfully imaginative use of the solo instruments in elaborating and amplifying the basic material.
Johann Adolf Hasse – Miserere in C Minor
Johann Sebastian Bach – Laß, Fürstin, laß noch einen Strahl (BWV 198)
Johann Friedrich Fasch – Concerto in D Minor, for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 violins, 2 bassoons, and basso continuo (FaWVL:d7)