J.S. Bach’s Three Worlds
Part of: OSL Bach Festival
June 6 – 23, 2019
Carnegie Hall – Zankel Hall
The 2019 OSL Bach Festival explores the three worlds J.S. Bach composed for: the church, the court, and the home in three concerts at Carnegie Hall, conducted by Bernard Labadie.
Learn more about the three spaces Bach composed for and discover more about each program before the Festival opens at Carnegie Hall on Thursday, June 6!
Bach in Church
The 2019 OSL Bach Festival opens with a program dedicated to Bach’s extensive catalogue of sacred music titled Music of the Spirit. In 1723, Bach was appointed Kantor at St. Thomas School in Leipzig, the most prominent musical position in the city. Bach held this position for six years, during which he composed the majority of over 200 of his surviving sacred cantatas. Two of these cantatas will be performed in their entirety on this program. “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen,” BWV 51 is one of Bach’s most well-known Leipzig cantatas and his only cantata for soprano and trumpet. “Alles mit Gott und nichts ohn’ ihn,” BWV 1127, is an earlier cantata for soprano that was recently rediscovered in 2005. Bach composed the sacred cantata while working as court organist for the Duke of Weimar, showing that the lines between Bach’s roles as a church musician and court composer were often blurred.
Bach at Court
The works Bach composed for the court were largely celebratory in nature. While he often doubled as a church musician in the court’s chapel, Bach’s many court appointments saw him composing pieces for the court’s entertainment. The works on the second Carnegie Hall program, Virtuoso Bach on June 13, radiate the thrill and excitement of court life and showcase the virtuosity of OSL soloists. They include two of Bach’s orchestral suites, a sinfonia from one of his cantatas, and the jubilant and impressive Concerto for Three Violins in D Major, a rare triple concerto which Bach wrote during his time as court composer in Köthen.
Bach at Home
In addition to the many pieces Bach wrote to be performed before crowds of worshippers, nobility, and courtiers, Bach also composed many intimate solo pieces to be performed at private residences by professional musicians or at home by skilled amateurs. The most well-known of these pieces are the keyboard, organ, and vocal works contained in the two-volume Notebook for Anna Magdalena – named for Bach’s second wife – the 24 preludes and fugues in The Well-Tempered Clavier, and the Goldberg Variations. The Goldberg Variations begin with a simple aria that is then transformed through 30 dazzling movements. For the third and final concert at Carnegie Hall on June 20, Principal Conductor Bernard Labadie takes the theme of variation one step further with the U.S. premiere of his arrangement of the Goldberg Variations for full Baroque ensemble.