Light for November
Music by Baroque masters
Händel – Buxtehude – Telemann – J. S. Bach
Juho Punkeri, tenor
Song and music have played central roles in the Christian tradition and in the church service since the times of the first churches. Besides Advent and the Christmas season, Easter and its fasting have been especially popular and favourable among both composers and musicians. In the 17th and 18th centuries, opera houses were closed during the fast, as the fast was to be spent in prayer, repentance and humbleness – avoiding all sorts of profane joys. So composers, musicians and the audience engaged in more appropriate works, such as oratorios or sacred cantatas.
And even the honourable folks of Hamburg enjoyed listening to passions as part of the Easter time services. Georg Philipp Telemann, who had functioned as a leading character of the city's musical life for over half a century, worked hard on his passions. Also Georg Friedrich Händel, who later made a name for himself in London with oratorios, composed passions, as the Brockes Passion to Barthold Heinrich Brockes' poetic text about the Passion of Jesus. It was premiered in Hamburg in 1719, just before Telemann's era.
The strictly polyphonic, sophisticated style evoked pious sentiments in the souls of its listeners – as surely was the idea with The Musical Offering (Musikalisches Opfer), which Johann Sebastian Bach dedicated to Frederick the Great, King of Prussia. Soli Deo gloria, Glory to God alone, is also the theme of Bach's Chromatic Fantasia, loved by romantics, and of the variations and laments by Bach's mentor Dietrich Buxtehude, which the keyboard master of the late 17th century wrote for his own father's funeral: Fried- und Freudenreiche Hinfarth (Departure enriched by Peace and Joy).
Duration: 1 h (no intermission)