Programme Guide

In the midst of the Corona pandemic, the soprano Anna Prohaska released recordings of arias and chorales from cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach entitled Redemption. The music of the Baroque composer, so comforting especially in times of crisis, comes from a time when the preoccupation with illness and death was much more a part of everyday life than it is today. This is also reflected in the cantatas written for the Sundays of the ecclesiastical calendar. Three of them will be presented by the soprano plus countertenor Rupert Enticknap, bass Jan Martiník and members of the Berliner Philharmoniker in a Late Night concert. The conductor of the programme, as at Anna Prohaska’s debut with the orchestra in 2008, is Sir Simon Rattle, whose greatest successes as chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker included the staged performances of the Bach Passions.

The cantatas performed here were written in the 1720s during Bach’s early years as Leipzig’s Thomaskantor, and deal with themes such as the vanity of the worldly, the fear of illness and death and the plea for redemption, but also happiness, confidence in faith and the joy of living. The beautiful arias, ensembles and chorales – in which, in addition to the singing voices, the oboe also features in soulful passages – are, for all their seriousness, repeatedly characterised by dance-like energy.

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