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Sunday, June 24, 2007

ARCHIVE  •  2007 •  SUN 17  •  MON 18  •  WED 20  •  FRI 22  •  SUN 24

Saint Michael & All Angels Church, 4 p.m.

Festival Finale

Jennifer Foster, soprano
Daniel Roihl, countertenor
Jonathan Mack, tenor
Christopher Lindbloom, baritone
Festival Chorus & Orchestra
Burton Karson, conductor


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir, BWV 29
Cantata for the Inauguration of the Town Council, 1731

Sinfonia

Chorus: Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir

We thank you, God, and proclaim your wonders.

Aria (ten.): Halleluja, Stärk und Macht sei des
Allerhöchsten Namen

Hallelujah to God’s exalted Name! Zion is his city where he dwells, and with our descendants keeps our father’s covenant.

Recit. (bar.): Gottlob! es geht uns wohl

Praise God! God is our confidence, refuge, trust and light, Protector of town, walls and homes. He blesses us. Truth, righteousness and peace must meet together. Where is another people to whom God is so gracious?

Aria (sop.): Gedenk’ an uns mit deiner Liebe

Remember us with affection, embrace us in mercy! Bless those who govern, those who lead, guard and guide, and bless the obedient.

Recit. (alto): Vergiss es ferner nicht

Forget us not; with your hand give us prosperity. So shall our town and land honor you with thanks, And all the citizens shall say: Amen!

Aria (alto): Halleluja, Stärk und Macht

Hallelujah, strength and might to your
exalted Name!

Chorale: Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren

Laud and praise and honor to Father, Son and Holy Spirit! May our welfare increase, as he promised, that our heart, mind and will hold fast, trust and rely on him. Amen! We shall achieve it, we believe from the bottom of our heart.

Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707)
Jesu, Joy and Treasure, BuxWV 60

Sonata:

Allegro non troppo – Grave – Allegro

Chorus:

Jesu, Joy and Treasure

Solo (sop.):

While thine arms are round me

Solo (bar.):

Hence thou noisome serpent!

Chorus:

Naught on earth is lasting

Solo (ten.):

Fare thee well all that’s mortal

Chorale:

Banish fear and sadness


George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Zadok the Priest (Coronation Anthem I)

Zadok the Priest and Nathan the Prophet anointed Solomon King. And all the people rejoiced, and said:
God save the King, long live the King, God save the King! May the King live for ever, Alleluia, Amen!

Intermission


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Orchestral Suite IV in D, BWV 1069

Ouverture
Bourrée I
Bourrée II (Bourrée I da capo)
Gavotte
Menuet I
Menuet II (Menuet I da capo)
Réjouissance


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Herr Gott, dich loben Alle wir, BWV 130
Cantata for Saint Michael’s Feast, 1724

Chorus: Herr Gott, dich loben Alle wir

Lord God, we praise you every one, and shall give you thanks for your beautiful angelic creation at your throne.

Recit. (alto): Ihr heller Glanz und hohe Weisheit zeigt

Their radiance and lofty wisdom show how God bends to us mortals, giving us such a legion for our protection. They take no rest, diligent for our protection, that they, Lord Christ, stay around you and your faithful company. We need them to guard against Satan’s might.

Aria (bar.): Der alte Drache brennt vor Neid

The old serpent burns with envy, ever plotting new suffering, to separate our little band. He happily crushes what is God’s, and plies deceit, for he knows no rest.

Recit. (sop. & ten.): Wohl aber uns, dass Tag und Nacht

Well for us that day and night the host of angels watches to protect us from Satan’s onslaught. Daniel who sat in the lions’ den learned of the guardian angels, and the embers of Babel’s furnace did no harm. So let the faithful hear a song of thanks for the continuing angelic help.

Aria (ten.): Lass, o Fürst der Cherubinen

Let, O Prince of holy Cherubs, this lofty throng evermore tend your faithful flock, that they on Elijah’s chariot may be carried to heaven.

Chorale: Darum wir billig loben dich

For this we give you willing praise, and thank you, God, for ever. Like your angel host, we laud and praise you evermore. We pray you to command them to guard our tiny flock, which keeps your sacred word intact.

Reception


We close our twenty-seventh annual Festival with a final acknowledgement of the beautiful music of Dietrich Buxtehude, who died three hundred years ago — his influence perhaps reflected in these major works of J. S. Bach, the first a cantata that also concludes our tribute to the one-hundredth anniversary of the City of Newport Beach.

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Bach’s Cantata 29 was written specifically for the inauguration of a new Leipzig town council on 27 August 1731. The composer was in a big hurry to produce this cantata, so he borrowed music heavily from some of his earlier compositions – the Sinfonia from the first movement of the sixth violin solo sonata in E, and the rest assumed from lost works. The text of praise to the Almighty refers constantly to the occasion: Protector of town, walls and homes and Where is another people to whom God is so gracious? in the baritone recitative; Bless those who govern, those who lead, guard and guide, and bless the obedient in the soprano aria; Forget us not; with your hand give us prosperity. So shall our town and land honor you with thanks, And all the citizens shall say: Amen!, which is the text of the alto recitative; and May our welfare increase in the closing chorale.

The entire text with its celebratory music certainly would work appropriately for the inauguration of a city council in Newport Beach! BACK

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Buxtehude’s Jesu, Joy and Treasure is a chorale cantata based on the lovely hymn tune by Johannes Crüger (1598-1662) with text by Johann Franck (1618-1677), Jesu, meine Freude, which Bach used in his motet of the same name. The downward theme that begins the introductory Sonata and is fleshed out in the motive of its Allegro presages the opening notes of the chorale that follows, and the instrumental ritornelli that close the first two chorales and the soprano and baritone arias both end with the concluding notes of the chorale melody. The arias also contain subtle references to the chorale tune while they boldly dramatize their texts with “word painting.” Note, for instance, the melodic figure for the word “round” of the soprano aria’s first phrase, “While thine arms are round me,” and the baritone’s angrily rising notes on his word “rage” and his melodic leaps on “wild leaping!”

Our singing of this cantata in an English translation should help to illustrate the spiritual dedication and musical skills of this great composer. BACK

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Handel was called on to write four choral/instrumental anthems to be performed in Westminster Abbey on 11 October 1727 for the coronation of George II. It must be recalled that Handel was visiting in England when his employer, the Elector Georg of Hanover, was elected King George I by the British Parliament on the death of Queen Anne in 1714, thus making Handel’s return to Germany unnecessary.

It was for George I that Handel wrote his famous Water Music, after which the king doubled his pension — which, when raised again a few years later by Queen Caroline, gave him a generous income that he enjoyed for life. The anthem Zadok the Priest, with its biblical text about the anointing of David’s son Solomon as King of Israel and its full orchestration with trumpets and timpani, has been performed at coronations of British monarchs ever since. BACK

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Bach wrote four orchestral suites, often called Overtures because they begin with movements with that title. They, like his English and French Suites and partitas for harpsichord and his unaccompanied suites for violoncello, consist of dance movements such as minuets, gavottes and polonaises that he titled in French. Here the Bourrée II and Menuet II must be followed by a repetition of Bourrée I and Menuet I, creating three-part (ABA) forms. These stylized dance forms, like the waltzes and polonaises for piano solo by Chopin, are not intended for dancing, but simply reflect their origins. No. 4 is for an orchestra that includes three trumpets, timpani, three oboes and bassoon in addition to the normal strings. BACK

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Cantata 130 was composed for Saint Michael’s Feast Day, 29 September 1724. The scoring for full orchestra is the same as for Suite No. 4, with four soloists and chorus. The text, from Revelation XII, tells of John’s fantastic vision of a war in heaven during which the Archangel Michael and his angels put down the Dragon (the Evil One, the Devil). Drama abounds in the solo recitatives and arias and in the opening chorus which, like the closing chorale, is based on the famous melody known as the Old 100th or commonly, the Doxology, a sixteenth-century tune by Louis Bourgeois. Bach’s congregation in Leipzig’s Thomaskirche undoubtedly would have joined the choir in singing the final chorale in such cantatas, probably from memory. BACK

Notes by Burton Karson

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