Music from heaven: this could be the title of this concert by Concerto Melante, conducted by Raimar Orlovsky, which brings together four exquisite vocal soloists. It opens with Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata “Aus der Tiefe rufe ich, Herr, zu dir” – a moving early work that may have been performed in 1707 in the Marienkirche in Mühlhausen after large parts of the town had been reduced to rubble by a major fire.
The lament “Ach, dass ich Wassers gnug hätte in meinem Haupte”, based on the 38th Psalm and the Book of Lamentations, is also characterised by extraordinary emotional depth. This work, in the tradition of sacred concertos, in which the vocal part is accompanied by violin, three viols and basso continuo, was composed by Johann Christoph Bach. He is the son of Johann Sebastian’s great-uncle Heinrich from the Arnstadt Bach line and is considered the most important composer among the older members of the family. The music in the “stylus phantasticus” surprises with its exuberant virtuosity and touches the heart in equal measure – as does Johann Christoph Bach’s lament “Wie bist du denn, o Gott” based on excerpts from the Penitential Psalms.
Georg Philipp Telemann’s funeral cantata “Du aber, Daniel”, possibly written for the funeral of his wife Amalie in 1711, is equally touching – moving funeral music in which the low instruments imitate the ringing of the death bells: “Schlaf[t] wohl, ihr seligen Gebeine”.