San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
Jennifer Ellis Kampani, soprano
Andrew Rader, countertenor
Paul Elliott, tenor
Peter Becker, bass
Rob Diggins, violin
Jolianne von Einem, violin
David Wilson, viola
Anthony Martin, viola
Warren Stewart, violoncello
John Dornenburg, violone
Jillon Stoppels Dupree, harpsichord & organ
“Johann Sebastian Bach belongs to a family that seems to have received a love and aptitude for music as a gift of Nature to all its members in common.” from the Obituary Notice of Johann Sebastian Bach, 1750
Throughout the seventeenth century, many of the organists and instrumentalists in the small towns of central Germany were Bachs. Indeed, in the province of Thuringia, the name ‘Bach’ was synonymous with the trade of musician. In October 1694, the nine-year-old Johann Sebastian Bach travelled to Arnstadt for the wedding of his cousin, the Eisenach organist Johann Christoph. The Bach family gathered frequently, but this occasion was exceptional in that Christoph's teacher, the renowned organist and composer Johann Pachelbel performed together with members of the Bach family. 1694 also saw the publication of a set of sonatas by the Dresden violinist Johann Paul Westhoff, in whose orchestra Bach would perform as a teenager.
In this program Magnificat will explore the music of Bach's ancestors that the young Bach may have heard during the wedding festivities and will feature cantatas and instrumental music by Sebastian's cousins Johann Christoph and Johann Michael Bach as well as Pachelbel and Westhoff. The program is framed by cantata settings of the chorale Christ lag in Todesbanden, opening with Pachelbel's setting, which may have served as the model for the young Johann Sebastian Bach's first masterpiece, which will conclude the concert.
Two cantatas on the program are preserved in a collection of manuscripts known to musicologists as Das Altbachisches Arkiv, or the "Archive of the Elder Bachs." Sebastian treasured these manuscripts throughout his life, making annotations in the scores and performing some of the works as late as 1749, the year before his death. The archives passed on to his son Carl Phillip Emmanuel and later became part of the library of the Berliner Singakademie, which was so instrumental to the revival of Bach's music in the 19th century. Thought to have been destroyed in the Second World War, the archives were recently re-discovered and Magnificat will be performing from editions based on these manuscripts.
Johann Pachelbel: Christ lag in Todesbanden
Johann Christoph Bach: Prelude and Fugue in E flat
Johann Michael Bach: Ach, wie sehnlich wart ich der Zeit
Johann Paul Wetshoff: Sonata for Violin and Continuo in a minor
Johann Christoph Bach: Meine Freundin, du bist schön
Johann Sebastian Bach: Christ lag in Todesbanden BWV 4
When & Where
Magnificat Baroque Ensemble
Magnificat is an ensemble of voices and instruments under the direction of Warren Stewart that specializes in the music of the Early Baroque. For twenty years Magnificat has explored the emotionally charged music of the 17th Century, each season bringing together an assembly of internationally recognized musicians to present unique and innovative programs that engage the senses and inspire the imagination. Magnificat has offered audiences the chance to hear many significant works by well-known figures of the 17th Century while also uncovering forgotten masterpieces, including many modern premieres. With dramatic flair and sensitivity to historical perspective context, Magnificat imbues each concert with an infectious joy and a delight in musical make-believe.