Serafim Smigelskiy, the cellist in the Tesla Quartet, playing alone in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Photo by Benjamin Norman for The New York Times

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata BWV 22 – Thomanerchor Leipzig, Gewandhausorchester, Georg Christoph Biller (Audio video)

Cantata BWV 22 ("He took unto him the twelve") and Cantata BWV 23 occupy a unique position within the canon of Johann Sebastian Bach's sacred cantatas. Both were composed in 1723 during the last days of Bach's tenure as Kapellmeister at Cöthen, a post that had not required the composition of such works. But 1723 was a year that would mark a turning point in Bach's career, the year in which he gained the cantorship of the Thomasschule in Leipzig. It was not a straightforward appointment. The original choice of the Leipzig city council had been Telemann, a composer already well known in Leipzig. But Telemann rejected the post in favor of staying in Hamburg, and eventually the choice came down to Bach and Christoph Graupner, Kapellmeister at Darmstadt and favorite for the cantorship. Both were required to submit to examination and trial which included the performance of two cantatas at St Thomas' Church. Graupner's test took place on January 17, 1723, Bach's following on February 7. It was for this trial that Bach composed Cantatas BWV 22 and 23, the former being given before the sermon – the usual place in the Lutheran liturgy for the cantata – while Cantata BWV 23 was sung later during communion. In the event, the contest was needless since Graupner's employers refused to release him. Bach thus became cantor and his two examination cantatas herald the great series of Leipzig cantatas that flowed from his pen during the next few years. Although short, both works show every evidence that Bach set out to display his formidable talents in all their diversity. Scored for solo oboe, bassoon, strings, and continuo bass, BWV 22 is the more modestly orchestrated. The anonymous text is based on the Gospel for the day (Luke 18:31-43), the Sunday before Lent (Quinquagesima). Before leaving for his final journey to Jerusalem, Jesus tells the disciples of his coming passion and resurrection, an event narrated in the opening arioso chorus for tenor and bass, the disciples' lack of understanding articulated in a choral fugue. The arias for alto and tenor form personal comment on these events, the former pleading for understanding of the meaning of the passion, the latter a lively movement in passepied dance rhythm, in which the singer announces his intention to "renounce the things of the flesh" in favor of spiritual peace. The final movement is a prayerful and richly conceived four-part chorale set over a "walking bass".

Source: Brian Robins (

Η εκκλησιαστική καντάτα "Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe", BWV 22, γράφτηκε από τον Μπαχ το 1723 στο Κέτεν, για την τελευταία Κυριακή πριν τη Σαρακοστή, και παρουσιάστηκε για πρώτη φορά στη Λειψία στις 7 Φεβρουαρίου του ίδιου έτους, ως δείγμα των ικανοτήτων του μεγάλου συνθέτη προκειμένου να αναλάβει τη θέση του Κάντορα στον καθεδρικό ναό της πόλης.

Το έργο απαιτεί μικρό σύνολο από τρεις σολίστες (άλτο, τενόρο και μπάσο), τετραμερή χορωδία, όμποε, δύο βιολιά, βιόλα και μπάσο κοντίνουο (στην παρούσα ηχογράφηση το μπάσο κοντίνουο αποτελούν ένα βιολοντσέλο, ένα κοντραμπάσο και ένα κοντίνουο όργανο).

Την καντάτα "Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe", BWV 22, του Γιόχαν Σεμπάστιαν Μπαχ ερμηνεύουν η Χορωδία Αγοριών του Αγίου Θωμά της Λειψίας και η Ορχήστρα Gewandhaus της Λειψίας. Συμπράττουν οι σολίστες Stefan Kahle (άλτο, μέλος της χορωδίας), Patrick Grahl (τενόρος) και Matthias Weichert (μπάσος). Φωνή σοπράνο στην τετραμερή χορωδία, ο Paul Bernewitz (μέλος της χορωδίας). Διευθύνει ο Γερμανός αρχιμουσικός, βαρύτονος, συνθέτης και ακαδημαϊκός Γκέοργκ Κρίστοφ Μπίλερ, σημερινός Κάντορας της Χορωδίας, από το 1992, και 16ος μετά τον Μπαχ.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

♪ Cantata BWV 22, "Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe" (Köthen / Leipzig, 1723)

i. Arioso & Chorus: Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe und sprach
ii. Aria (alto): Mein Jesu, ziehe mich nach dir
iii. Recitativo (bass): Mein Jezu, ziehe mich, so werd ich laufen
iv. Aria (tenor): Mein alles in allem, mein ewiges Gut
v. Chorale: Ertöt uns durch dein Güte

Thomaner Paul Bernewitz, soprano (chorus)
Thomaner Stefan Kahle, alto
Patrick Grahl, tenor
Matthias Weichert, bass

Thomanerchor Leipzig
Georg Christoph Biller

Rondeau Production 2014

(HD 1080p – Audio video)

First publication: April 25, 2015 – Last update: March 29, 2018

See also

Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata BWV 182 – Thomanerchor Leipzig, Georg Christoph Biller (Audio video)

Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata BWV 23 – Thomanerchor Leipzig, Georg Christoph Biller (Audio video)

Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata BWV 67 – Thomanerchor Leipzig, Georg Christoph Biller (Audio video)

Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata BWV 4 – Thomanerchor Leipzig, Georg Christoph Biller (Audio video)

Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata BWV 31 – Thomanerchor Leipzig, Georg Christoph Biller (Audio video)

Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata BWV 190 – Thomanerchor Leipzig, Georg Christoph Biller (Audio video)

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