1 AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER CHOIR directed by DOUGLAS LAWRENCE Basilica of St Mary and All Angels, Geelong Sunday April 15 at 3pm Our Lady of Mt Carmel, Middle Park Sunday April 22 at 3 pm Myfanwy McIndoe - organ Briar Goessi - violin 1 Christian Read - viloa 1 Rebecca Diederich - cello with David Macfarlane - chamber organ Elizabeth Welsh - violin 2 Danny Neumann - viola 2 Ruth Wilkinson - violone Macbeth, once the three witches confront him with a vision of Banquo s plentiful descendants, cries out: What, will the line stretch to the crack of doom?. It is tempting to voice similar remarks when we realise the superabundance of professional musicians whom the Bach family produced. The overwhelming splendour of Johann Sebastian s genius and, to a lesser extent, the merits of his four composing sons, Wilhelm Friedemann, Carl Philipp Emmanuel, Johann Christoph Friedrich, and Johann Christian has tended to obscure the great gifts of earlier composers in the tribe, including those from whose writing Johann Sebastian directly learned. Today s programme seeks to dispel this darkness, placing JSB in the context of his models within the dynasty. Had these models possessed any surname other than Bach, they might well be better known now than they are. 1. DAS IST MEINE FREUDE Johann Ludwig Bach Born on 4 February 1677, Thal, Germany; died April 1731, Meiningen, Germany. The second cousin of JSB, Johann Ludwig is primarily associated with Meiningen, a city notable for outstanding musical traditions even by German standards, and one which in the 19th century would provide employment for Brahms, Richard Strauss, and Hans von Bülow. At Meiningen, Johann Ludwig worked as Kapellmeister for his last two decades. JSB so admired his older relative s output that he copied out at least 18 instances of it for performance at Leipzig. In fact, one festive cantata long credited to JSB Denn du wirst meine Seele nicht in der Hölle lassen, which still turns up as BWV 15 in the official catalogues is now known to have been from Johann Ludwig s pen. Nor did Johann Ludwig s significance to the younger man end there. Apparently it was from Johann Ludwig that JSB derived the notion (so conspicuous in the Passion settings) of accompanying Christ s sung words with a halo of string sound. Das ist meine Freude is an eight-part, double-choir piece to words from Psalm 73, and proves to be as optimistic as its title implies. The alternation between duple and triple time suggests that memories of Giovanni Gabrieli probably by way of Heinrich Schütz s example continued to linger in Johann Ludwig s environs. Das ist meine Freude, dass ich mich zu Gott halte und meine Zuversicht setze auf den Herren. Das ist meine Freude. This is my joy, that I hold myself close to God and place my trust in the Lord. This is my joy.
2 2. DAS BLUT JESU CHRISTI Johann Michael Bach Baptised on 9 August 1648, Arnstadt, Germany; died on 17 May 1694, Gehren, Germany Johann Michael Bach has a special claim upon posterity s notice: apart from his own compositions, he was the father of JSB s short-lived first wife, Maria Barbara ( ). For most of his adulthood Johann Michael worked unobtrusively in Gehren, Thuringia, as organist and town clerk. His fellow municipal officers referred to him, in print, as quiet withdrawn and artistically well-versed. Stylistically he descended as did his elder brother Johann Christoph from Schütz and Michael Praetorius, whose polychoral techniques and fondness for straightforward declamation he found congenial. Das Blut Jesu Christi (written for five-voice choir with basso continuo) is, through its subject-matter, squarely in the introspective tradition of 17th-century Lutheran Pietism, a tradition which also produced the much better known work by Dietrich Buxtehude, Membra Jesu Nostri. Words are repeated a good deal in Johann Michael s piece, but purely in order to intensify the drama, not to suit a pre-existing musical structure. Das Blut Jesu Christi, des Sohnes Gottes, Machet uns rein von allen Sünden. Dein Blut, der edle Saft, Hat solche Sterk und Kraft, Das auch ein Tröpflein kleine Die ganze Welt kann reine Ja, gar aus Teufels rachen Frei, los und ledig machen. The blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Makes us clean from all sins. Your blood, the noble drop Has such strength and potency That even a small drop Can cleanse the whole world Yes, even from Satan s revenge Can it set us free. 3. ORGAN SOLO: WACHET AUF, RUF UNS DIE STIMME BWV 645 JS Bach Born at Eisenach, Germany, 31 March 1685; died at Leipzig, 28 July Most of JSB s organ music comes from fairly early in his career, before his move to Leipzig. An exception is the set of six pieces known as the Schübler Chorales, BWV Bach s own title for them was Sechs Chorale von Verschiedener Art ( Six Chorales of Various Kinds ) which obtained their popular name through having been issued by one J. G. Schübler. They did not appear in print until 1748, and while marked discrepancies often exist in Bach s work between the composition date and the publication date (assuming that publication in Bach s lifetime occurred at all, which for a majority of Bach s creations it did not), these are in fact considered to be among the last things Bach lived to finish. At least five of them, and probably all six, are re-workings of cantata movements which Bach had written long before. (The possible exception is BWV 646, but even that is believed to be based on a cantata now lost.) Wachet Auf Sleepers Wake, as generations of English-speaking musiclovers have learnt to call it is taken almost note-for-note from the eponymous cantata s fourth section, in which the chorale theme itself is given to the tenor part. 4. SINGET DEM HERREN EIN NEUES LIED, BWV 225 JS Bach Bach wrote at least six motets the authenticity of a seventh is disputed between 1723 and All were intended for the Thomaskirche (St Thomas s Church), Leipzig, where he had been Cantor since This motet derives its words partly from Psalms 149 and 150 in the Lutheran Bible, and partly from a hymn by the 16th-century Protestant writer Johannes Poliander (alias Johann Graumann). We do not know the precise occasion for which Bach envisaged the piece, but it has been conjectured that he meant it despite its joyous sound, most obvious in the
3 exuberant setting of words like Reigen [dances] for, of all things, a royal funeral. Christiane, Queen of Poland, died (at Pretzsch, Saxony) in 1727, having refused to renounce her original Lutheranism even when her husband, King Augustus II, cynically sought to appease the Poles by ostentatiously proclaiming himself to be a Catholic. (Augustus owed his fundamental allegiance not to any branch of Christianity but to sex-addiction; his womanising, which resulted in 365 illegitimate progeny, earned him Thomas Carlyle s immortal description eupeptic son of Belial ). Each choir in Singet dem Herren has four parts (SATB). As with the other five canonical motets, so with this one, Bach allowed for the possibility of instrumental accompaniment, but did not insist on it. The work became a special favourite of Mozart, who might well have had its counterpoint in mind when he wrote the Jupiter Symphony. Note the curious and much discussed, although accidental resemblance between the melody which Bach employs for the words Wie sich ein Vater erbarmet, and the melody which English-speaking church-goers will recognise as The Old Hundredth. Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, Die Gemeine der Heiligen sollen ihn loben. Israel freue sich des, der ihn gemacht hat. Die Kinder Zion sei n fröhlich über ihrem Könige, Sie sollen loben seinen Namen im Reigen; mit Pauken und mit Harfen sollen sie ihm spielen. Wie sich ein Vater erbarmet Gott, nimm dich ferner unser an, Über seine junge Kinderlein, So tut der Herr uns allen, So wir ihn kindlich fürchten rein. Er kennt das arm Gemächte, Gott weiss, wir sind nur Staub, Denn ohne dich ist nichts getan Mit allen unsern Sachen. Gleichwie das Gras vom Rechen, Ein Blum und fallend Laub. Der Wind nur drüber wehet, So ist es nicht mehr da, Drum sei du unser Schirm und Licht, Und trügt uns unsre Hoffnung nicht, So wirst du s ferner machen. Also der Mensch vergehet, Sein End, das ist ihm nah. Wohl dem, der sich nur steif und fest Auf dich und deine Huld verlässt. Sing ye the Lord a new song; the assembly of saints should be telling His praises. Israel, be joyful in Him who hath made thee. Let Zion s children rejoice in Him who is their mighty king; let them be praising His name s honour in dances; with timbrels and with psalteries unto Him be playing. As does a father mercy show To his own little children dear, So doth the Lord to all of us, If as pure children we Him fear. He sees our feeble powers, God knows we are but dust; For, lacking Thee, nought shall we gain From all of our endeavours. Just as the grass in mowing, Or bud and falling leaf, If wind but o er it bloweth, It is no longer there, So be Thou our true shield and light, And if our hope betray us not, Thou wilt thus henceforth help us. Even so is man s life passing, His end to him is near. Blest be he whose hope, both strong and firm, On Thee and on Thy grace can rest. Lobet den Herrn in seinen Taten, lobet ihn in seiner grossen Herrlichkeit! Alles, was Odem hat, lobe den Herrn INTERVAL Praise ye the Lord in all His doings, praise ye Him in all His might and majesty! All things which have breath, praise ye the Lord,
4 The Australian Chamber Choir CD available today for $25 In Dulci Jubilo JS Bach, Dietrich Buxtehude, Selig sind die Toten Heinrich Schütz, A Boy was Born and Hymn to the Virgin Benjamin Britten, O Magnum Mysterium Thomas Kristof, By-by Lullaby Stephen Hodgson, I heard the owl call my name Philip Nunn Swap your Dynasty ticket for a Special Season Ticket to our 2012 Concert Series today by paying an additional $35 (adults) $30 (seniors) $25 (students, pensioners and unemployed). Our remaining subscription cconcerts are: MISERERE: Sunday July 1. Works by Allegri, Penderecki, Hodgson, Weelkes, Brahms CHICHESTER PSALMS Leonard Bernstein: Sunday October 21. With works by Britten, Barber, Arensky, Handl and Schütz. Just ask our ticket desk personnel for a swap. 5. LIEBER HERR GOTT, WECKE UNS AUF Johann Christoph Bach Born at Armstadt, Germany, 6 December 1642; died at Eisenach, Germany, 31 March 1703 Johann Christoph Bach, brother of Johann Michael (see above), enjoyed a remarkably high reputation as a composer. This reputation persisted long enough for JSB to revive some of his relative s liturgical music, as he revived Johann Ludwig s. The skill which Johann Christoph demonstrated as organist brought him most of his income, although little of his own organ music survives, and although he proved a poor manager of the family s finances, dying in debt despite the musical esteem which he had enjoyed. Lieber Herr Gott another double-choir composition with continuo, dating from 1672 and using a text based on Matthew 25:1-13 is rather less declamatory than much of this programme s other music, and rather more inclined to indulge in melismas on words like Freude, even if there is little outright word-painting. Note, again, the switches between duple and triple rhythm. Lieber Herr Gott, wecke uns auf dass wir bereit sein, wenn dein Sohn kömmt, ihn mit Freuden zu empfangen und dir mit reinem Herzen zu dienen, durch denselbigen deinen lieben Sohn, Jesum Christum unsern Herren. Amen. Dear Lord God, waken us now that we may be ready, when your Son comes, to greet Him with joy, and to serve You with pure heart, through the same dear Son of Yours, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 6. ORGAN SOLO: KOMM GOTT, SCHÖPFER, HEILIGER GEIST, JS Bach BWV 667 This mighty chorale prelude probably not intended for church use comes from the so-called Great Eighteen: that is, the set of organ pieces which Bach brought to their final form only in the 1740s, though the original versions of them were notated much earlier. Its main theme, heard clearly in the treble at the start, is the same as the Catholic plainchant melody Veni Creator Spiritus (to which Luther had fitted his own vernacular words, as he did for several other plainchants). Bach had already employed the same tune in the Orgelbüchlein, but here the treatment is much lengthier and more elaborate. There are two sections: in the first section, echoes of the Orgelbüchlein are obvious, right down to the accompanimental triplets; in the second section, virtuosic thunder predominates, with the pedals taking up the theme to particularly powerful effect.
5 7. CHRIST LAG IN TODESBANDEN, BWV 4 Johann Sebastian Bach Since the early 20th century, Christ lag in Totesbanden has been among the most popular and frequently performed of Bach s vocal creations. Well before complete sets of Bach cantatas started appearing in the 1970s, this work had already been released in numerous performances on disc. For innumerable radio-listeners and record-collectors, accordingly, it has been the first Bach cantata they have ever heard. (Its first known commercial recording was made as early as 1931, in Barcelona and sung, improbably enough, in Catalan; Nadia Boulanger followed with a Parisian interpretation six years afterwards.) The piece was written for Easter Sunday pretty early in Bach s life, but, despite what might be expected from its low BWV number, not spectacularly early. Some say it comes from 1709; the date 1707 has also been suggested. Bach must have had a particular fondness for this cantata, because in 1725 he did something unusual for him: he went back to it and amplified its orchestration, adding brass parts to what was hitherto a strings-only ensemble. (He also made use of the melody another Luther adaptation of a Catholic original in the Orgelbüchlein.) There are eight movements in all, written in such a way that soloists can be used if available, or else sections of the ensemble can sing throughout. (Sinfonia) Christ lag in Todesbanden Für unsre Sünd gegeben, Er ist wieder erstanden Und hat uns bracht das Leben; Des wir sollen fröhlich sein, Gott loben und ihm dankbar sein Und singen halleluja, Jesus Christus, Gottes Sohn, An unser Statt ist kommen Und hat die Sünde weggetan, Damit dem Tod genommen All sein Recht und sein Gewalt, Da bleibet nichts denn Tods Gestalt, Den Stach l hat er verloren. Es war ein wunderlicher Krieg, Da Tod und Leben rungen, Das Leben behielt den Sieg, Es hat den Tod verschlungen. Die Schrift hat verkündigt das, Wie ein Tod den andern frass, Ein Spott aus dem Tod ist worden. Hier ist das rechte Osterlamm, Davon Gott hat geboten, Das ist hoch an des Kreuzes Stamm In heisser Lieb gebraten, Das Blut zeichnet unsre Tür, (Sinfonia) Christ lay in death s bonds given over for our sins, He has risen again and brought us life; therefore we should be joyful, praise God and be thankful to Him and sing Hallelujah, Jesus Christ, God s Son, has come in our place, and has done away with sin, thereby taking from death all his rights and power; nothing remains but death s form; he has lost his sting. It was a strange battle, that death and life waged, life claimed the victory, it devoured death. The scripture had prophesied this, how one death gobbled up the other, a mockery has been made from death. Here is the true Easter-lamb, offered up by God, which was, high on the cross stalk roasted in hot love, the blood marks our door,
6 Das hält der Glaub dem Tode für, Der Würger kann uns nicht mehr schaden. So feiern wir das hohe Fest Mit Herzensfreud und Wonne, Das uns der Herre scheinen lässt, Er ist selber die Sonne, Der durch seiner Gnade Glanz Erleuchtet unsre Herzen ganz, Der Sünden Nacht ist verschwunden. Wir essen und leben wohl In rechten Osterfladen, Der alte Sauerteig nicht soll Sein bei dem Wort der Gnaden, Christus will die Koste sein Und speisen die Seel allein, Der Glaub will keins andern leben. faith holds it against death, the murderer can no longer harm us. So we celebrate the high festival with joy of heart and delight, which the Lord radiates upon us, He Himself is the sun, that through the splendour of his grace illuminates our hearts completely, the night of sin has disappeared. We eat and live well on the true Easter bread, the old leaven shall not exist next to the word of grace, Christ will be our food and nourish the soul alone, faith will live in no other way. Trans Pamela Dellal Programme notes R. J. Stove, 2011 The singers today were: Sopranos: Felicity Bolitho, Nina Wellington-Iser, Bronwyn Jones, Erika Tandiono*, Ailsa Webb, Sylvia Tiet, Altos: Melissa Lee*, Myfanwy McIndoe, Elizabeth Anderson, Linda Lin Tenors: Jacob Lawrence*, Tom Kristof #, Andrew Collyer*, Tomas Dalton Basses: Steven Hodgson* #, Rhys Boak, Andrew Moffat, Kieran Macfarlane * denotes solists # denotes composer, whose work can be found on the ACC s CD, available today. In J.S. Bach s motet Jesu meine Freude one could clearly recognize director Douglas Lawrence s penetrating interpretation, the musical shape strictly governed by the text, endowing the recurrent main melody with interesting variants. On an emotional level the gently blended voices and their balanced distribution often lent the text additional inner meaning. (Augsburger Allgemeine, July 10, 2011). The young ensemble under the direction of Douglas Lawrence began softly with Schütz s tender motet: Selig sind die Toten (Blessed are the Dead) in German and convincing with their homogeneous sound in further sacred works by Byrd and in the radiant Jubilate Deo of Gabrieli. (Leipziger Volkszeitung, July 19, 2011).... it was a great pleasure to have this wonderful choir here in Thomaskirche (Leipzig)... The concert and service were magnificent. A few choirs touch your heart: this was one such choir. (Gudrun Hartmann, Office for Church Music, St Thomas Church, Leipzig, July 21, 2011)... in Leipzig, we have many fine choirs, not only the Thomanerchor. We also hear many visiting choirs. Not many come up to our standard. Yours did. (Ulrich Böhme, Organist, St Thomas Church, Leipzig, July 21, 2011)
7 ABOUT US: The ACC was well-received on its third European concert tour, with 13 concerts in July The choir received high praise for its performances of monuments of the choral repertoire such as Bach s Motet, Jesu meine Freude, which it performed alongside a recent work by Australian composer, Philip Nunn: I heard the owl call my name. Full versions of the reviews above are to be found on our website: In October 2011, the choir undertook its second Australian regional concert tour, visiting Albury, Wagga Wagga and Wangaratta. Thanks go to the Potter Foundation for its assistance with audience building during A third such tour will take place next weekend, with the Pergolesi Magnificat and Vivaldi s Gloria in two concerts at the Southern Grampians Promenade of Sacred Music. While the choir s European tours are financed by contributions from choir members in addition to concert fees, Australian touring relies heavily on support from our donors. All choir administrators currently volunteer their services to the ACC. SOME STATISTICS: The choir gave its first performance on July 7, During its first five years, the Australian Chamber Choir will have undertaken 3 European tours, 3 Australian regional tours and given many concerts in Melbourne - a total of 91 concerts, many of which have been recorded for broadcast on 3MBS FM or ABC FM. Donations to the Australian Chamber Choir Support Fund are fully tax deductible. If you would like to assist the choir, fill in the form provided in the into the future brochure or contact us at or telephone We would like to thank all our sponsors, listed below. Chairman: Dr Robin Batterham, AO Patrons: Dr Barry Jones, AO Prof John Griffiths, Oficial de la Orden de Isabel la Católica Australian Chamber Choir Inc. No.A Y
8 Thank you for attending today s concert. We would like to thank the following people for their financial support: Bob Henderson, Robin Batterham, Thorry Gunnersen, Rowan McIndoe, Merrilyn Murnane, Max Griffiths, Hector Maclean, Glen Witham, Mobiquity, Alana Mitchell, Elisabeth Murdoch, George and Ann Littlewood, Nola Rogers, David Beauchamp, Lyn Howden, Mel Waters, Peter and Sarah Martin, Heather Low, Warren and Iris Anderson, James Barber, Anne Gilby, Helen Bayston, John and Cheryl Iser, Rod and Deborah Edwards, Vicky and Peter Balabanski, Wallace and Jenny Young, Lenore Stephens, the late Alf Miller and Philippa Miller, Eric Stokes, Barbara Kristof, David Brand, MJ and RM Norton, Alma Ryrie- Jones, Carolyn Williams, Heather and Ian Gunn, Elizabeth Burns, Dianne and David Gome, Annette Robinson, Barry and Kate Michael, Michael Edgeloe, Nicole Spicer, Michael Elligate, Peter Kingsbury, Stuart Hamilton General-Anzeiger Bonn Saturday/Sunday, 23/24 July 2011 Secure Voices not only in Animal Noises A phenomenal Nachtmusik in the Minster By Guido Krawinkel At the first of this year s Nachtmusik concerts under the auspices of the Bonn Minster Summer (concert series), the Australian Chamber Choir under the direction of Douglas Lawrence appeared as guests. During the evening s concert, the sound produced by this ensemble was quite simply phenomenal: flawless intonation, superb uniformity, perfect tonal balance, astounding dynamic range and sleek voice-leading. An Ave verum of William Byrd convinced through its heavenly ethereal sound. As a souvenir from their homeland the choir brought along I heard the owl call my name by Philip Nunn, a work that demands everything of its singers, amongst other things, many different animal sounds. The choir mastered this brilliantly. The program was enriched by two organ improvisations by Minster Cantor, Markus Karas, who broke up the program by demonstrating the many possibilities available on the Klais organ through two stylistic improvisations that closely paralleled the choral works. Translation Elizabeth Anderson PURCHASE A TICKET TODAY FOR OUR NEXT CONCERT: MISERERE: Sunday July 1. Works by Allegri, Penderecki, Hodgson, Weelkes, Brahms Just ask our ticket desk personnel. Buy it today and we ll throw in a free ticket to Concert 3: CHICHESTER PSALMS Leonard Bernstein: Sunday October 21. With works by Britten, Barber, Arensky, Handl and Schütz. Just ask our ticket desk personnel.
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