Bach's Heritage
Music of Pachelbel, Buxtehude and the Bach Family

First Lutheran, Palo Alto 02.14.14 8:00PM
St. Mark's Episcopal, Berkeley 02.15.14 8:00PM
St. Mark's Lutheran, San Francisco 02.16.14 4:00PM

Jennifer Ellis Kampani, soprano Andrew Rader, countertenor Paul Elliott, tenor Peter Becker, bass Rob Diggins, violin Jolianne von Einem, violin David Wilson, violin & viola Anthony Martin, viola David Sego, viola John Dornenburg, violone Jillon Stoppels Dupree, harpsichord & organ

“Johann Sebastian Bach belongs to a family that seems to have received a love and aptitude for music as a gift of Nature to all its members in common.” from the Obituary Notice of Johann Sebastian Bach, 1750

Throughout the seventeenth century, many of the organists and instrumentalists in the small towns of central Germany were Bachs. Indeed, in the province of Thuringia, the name ‘Bach’ was synonymous with the trade of musician. In October 1694, the nine-year-old Johann Sebastian Bach travelled to Arnstadt for the wedding of his older brother, Johann Christoph. The Bach family gathered frequently, but this occasion was exceptional in that Christoph's teacher, the renowned organist and composer Johann Pachelbel performed together with members of the Bach family.

In this program Magnificat will explore the music of Bach's ancestors that the young Bach may have heard during the wedding festivities and will feature cantatas and instrumental music by Sebastian's cousins Johann Christoph and Johann Michael Bach as well as Pachelbel and Buxtehude. The program is framed by cantata settings of the chorale Christ lag in Todesbanden, opening with Pachelbel's setting, which may have served as the model for the young Johann Sebastian Bach's first masterpiece, which will conclude the concert.

Two cantatas on the program are preserved in a collection of manuscripts known to musicologists as Das Altbachisches Arkiv, or the "Archive of the Elder Bachs." Sebastian treasured these manuscripts throughout his life, making annotations in the scores and performing some of the works as late as 1749, the year before his death. The archives passed on to his son Carl Phillip Emmanuel and later became part of the library of the Berliner Singakademie, which was so instrumental to the revival of Bach's music in the 19th century. Thought to have been destroyed in the Second World War, the archives were recently re-discovered and Magnificat will be performing from editions based on these manuscripts.

Program Johann Pachelbel: Christ lag in Todesbanden Johann Michael Bach: Es ist ein großer Gewinn Johann Christoph Bach: Ach, wenn ich Wassers g'nug hätte Johann Christoph Bach: Meine Freundin, du bist schön Dietrich Buxtehude: Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele Johann Christoph Bach: Wie bist denn, o Gott Johann Sebastian Bach: Christ lag in Todesbanden BWV 4

Background image by Nika Korniyenko.