Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bach Log: Epiphany

Tonight's selection comprised music for the first Sunday of the new year (BWV 153, 58) and also for Epiphany (BWV 65, 123), of which I'd say the clear winner is BWV 123, Liebster Immanuel, Herzog der Frommen, "dearest Emmanuel, duke of the pious."  As a commentator says, "Herzog=duke" seems an odd choice, perhaps best savored in a foreign language.  The remarkable part is the bass aria, "Lass, o Welt, mich aus Verachtungnwhich," "leave me, world, for though dost scorn me."*  Gardiner calls it "one of the loneliest arias Bach ever wrote" (sic, not "loveliest?").  The aria's austere dignity is surrounded/festooned/ornamented/complemented by flute and continuo which Gardiner encounters as ""some consoling guardian angel."  Right enough as long as you leave it in the abstract.  Once you start to think about it, you find yourself imagining some hitherto undocumented Disney character and the effect is, shall we say, not enhanced.  There, I told you  not to think of an undocumented Disney character.

Here's the aria** (oddly, YouTube appears not to identify the musicians):

*Translation by one Z. Philip Ambrose, hitherto unknown to me, seemingly a remarkable man about whom I must say more later.

**And now that I listen to it, I realize this version is not nearly as Disneyfied as the Gardiner.

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