Art of the Prophets: Vocal and instrumental music from the generation before J.S. Bach
Date: December 3, 2012
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
The Tempesta di Mare (Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra) Chamber Players, with vocal soloists Laura Heimes, soprano, Jennifer Lane, alto, Aaron Sheehan, tenor and David Newman, perform Art of the Prophets, glorious German vocal and instrumental music from the generation before J.S. Bach, on December 8 in Center City and December 9 in Chestnut Hill.
December 8, 8 p.m. Arch Street Meeting House (4th and Arch), Philadelphia & December 9, 4 p.m. (St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, Chestnut Hill)
A new generation of composers emerged from the devastation following the Thirty Years War, redefining German music with ravishing results. Art of the Prophets showcases some of the finest examples of the era, with spiritual and secular music by Nicolaus Bruhns, Philipp Heinrich Erlebach, Johann Rosenmüller, and Johann Christoph Bach (J.S. Bach’s cousin).
Bruhns’ joyous and florid setting of Psalm 100, “Jauchzet dem Herren,” a tour-de-force for tenor and strings opens the program. Erlebach’s Ouverture III, modeled after Lully’s dance music for the spectacles of Versailles, gives the clearest inklings that the German orchestral suite was about to come into its own as a genre. Rosenmüller’s “O dives omnium bonarum,” for alto and violas, meditates on texts by Saint Augustine with a burnished, deep-sounding texture. Pez’s Concerto Pastorale, for recorders and strings, celebrates the nativity in the new-fashioned Roman flavor. Finally, in the wedding cantata, “Meine Freundin, du bist schön,” for soprano and bass, Johann Christoph Bach sets strains from the Song of Songs so voluptuously as to disprove any notion that his young cousin, Johann Sebastian, was the first Bach to reveal sensuality in Lutheran Protestantism.
Social historian Tanya Kevorkian, author of Baroque Piety: Religion, Society, and Music in Leipzig, 1650–1750 and history professor at Millersville University, will give pre-concert talks on the reemergence of music and celebration in Germany after the Thirty Years War. Each talk will start one hour before the concert.