Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

A One-Man Cantata Factory

Donald Macleod focuses on the first of Bach's annual Leipzig cantata cycles.

As part of Radio 3's Classical Voice season, all this week Donald Macleod explores Bach's vocal music.

In April 1723, after a great deal of political wrangling between rival factions on the Leipzig town council, Bach was appointed Cantor of the celebrated Thomasschule. At last he had the opportunity to realize a vision he had had, 15 years and several jobs earlier, in his post as organist of St Blasius's Church in Mühlhausen. That vision - his "ultimate goal", he called it - was the creation of "a regulated church music". In practice, this simple-sounding aspiration entailed the Herculean labour of producing - not to mention preparing for performance - a cantata for every single Sunday and feast-day of the church year. Almost incredibly, he kept this up, with minimal reliance on previously composed material, for the first three years of his tenure at Leipzig - a period during which he was, in short, a one-man cantata factory. Today, Donald Macleod focuses on the first of those annual cantata cycles. The emotional range is huge, from the festive cheer of Cantata 40: 'Darzu ist erschienen der Sohn Gottes' to the thrilling, borderline-operatic drama of Cantata 81: 'Jesus schläft, was sol ich hoffen?'.

1 hour

Last on

Mon 15 Jun 2015 18:30

Music Played

  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Cantata No. 75 Bwv.75 - Part 1; Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan

    Performer: Ton Koopman. Orchestra: Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra.
    • Challenge: CC72206.
    • Challenge.
    • 28.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Cantata No. 90 Bwv.90 - Es reisset euch ein schrecklich Ende (Aria)

    Performer: Masaaki Suzuki. Performer: Toshio Shimada. Singer: Peter Kooij. Singer: Robin Blaze. Ensemble: Japan Bach Collegium.
    • BIS : BIS-CD-1111.
    • BIS.
    • 25.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Cantata No. 40 Bwv.40 - Dazu ist erscheinen der Sohn Gottes (Chorus)

    Orchestra: Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra. Director: Ton Koopman. Choir: Amsterdam Baroque Choir.
    • ERATO : 3984-25488-2.
    • ERATO.
    • 1.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Cantata No. 81 Bwv.81 (Jesus Schlaft, Was Soll Ich Hoffen)

    Singer: Peter Harvey. Orchestra: English Baroque Soloists. Conductor: Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Singer: Paul Agnew. Choir: Monteverdi Choir. Singer: William Towers.
    • SOLI DEO GLORIA : SDG-115.
    • SOLI DEO GLORIA.
    • 1.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Cantata No. 50 Bwv.50 (Nun Ist Das Heil Und Die Kraft)

    Orchestra: English Baroque Soloists. Conductor: Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Choir: Monteverdi Choir.
    • SOLI DEO GLORIA : SDG-124.
    • SOLI DEO GLORIA.
    • 1.

Broadcasts

Composers A to Z

Composers A to Z

Visit the extensive audio archive of Radio 3 programmes about Composers and their works.

Who knew? Five eye-opening stories from Composer of the Week

Who knew? Five eye-opening stories from Composer of the Week

The production team reflects on 5 of Donald Macleod’s best stories from the last 20 years

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

A man out of time – why Parry's music and ideas were at odds with his image...

The composer of Jerusalem was very far from the conservative figure his image suggests.

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

Five reasons why we love Parry's Jerusalem

What is the strange power of Jerusalem which makes strong men weep?

Composer Help Page

Composer Help Page

Find resources and contacts for composers from within the classical music industry.