Monday, July 07, 2014

Bach Log: The Leper

Our sixth night on the Bach Cantatas, this one comprising BWVs 72, Alles nur nach Gottes Willen (Everything following God's will alone);  73, Herr, wie du willt, so schicks mit mir (Lord, do with me as You will);  111, Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh allzeit (What my God wants, may it always happen); and 156, Ich steh mit einem Fuß im Grabe (I am standing with one foot in the grave).*   The common theme here is submission and stoic (yes?) acceptance of some pretty grim stuff--a pervasive theme is the healing of the leper.  Makes you wonder what the audience had experienced during the week which they are now encouraged to interpret through music and Biblical text.   There is always, of course, the promise of succor from God; or more precisely, Jesus: he will remember you, he will provide.  Mrs. B, who grew up Catholic in a German-American household, remarks on how much the theology reminds her of her own beginnings and wonders whether the Lutherans and the Catholics were closer on points of doctrine than the Great and Good in her own life instructed her to believe.

But for solace, forget about Jesus and consider the oboe: so frequently we find it called into service to take the rough edges off the text.  I wonder did Bach invent this use of the oboe, or is he merely deploying a still devised by his predecessors?

The selection does include the  most dramatic and dynamic chorus we've heard so far--from BWV 72, "Alles nur nach Gottes Willen:"  Here's the whole of BWV 72, from the Bach Collegium Japan:

*And yes, I see I really do need to standardize my form of citation. If I'm conscientious, I'll go back and try to make the earlier entries consistent this format.

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