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Bach Cantata to be played at St Matthew-in-the-City

Bach Cantata to be played at St Matthew-in-the-City

St Matthew-in-the-City has a reputation for fine music. People attending the regular 10am service are privileged to hear the St Matthew’s Voices led by Dmitry Rusakov and the organ played by Music Director Michael Bell.

On Sunday 31 August at 10am the music will be rather special with a Bach cantata woven into the communion service. And not just any Bach cantata - Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis, BWV 21 - in two parts - is the longest and grandest of all of Bach's cantatas. It is a master work, remarkably cohesive despite its range of musical and literary styles.

Music Director Michael Bell said “We hope people will able to join us as we present this marvellous cantata in the context of our Sunday liturgy. From the mysterious opening with violin and oboe duet through to the unstoppable fugal finale that blazes upwards, we are certain people will discover something unique and inspiring in Ich hatte Bekummernis (My heart and soul were sore distressed).”

The Cantata will be presented by four singers, and 8 instrumentalists along with the Donald Barriball Memorial Chamber Organ.

Dating from 1714, the overall theme of the piece is a progression from darkness into light and the texts are largely drawn from the Psalms, set as choruses in the archaic motet style. In contrast to these, Bach provided 'modern' style recitatives and arias that use freer, madrigalesque poetry. Frequent tempo changes and contrasts of homophonic with fugal textures all lend expressive weight to the piece. Bach designated the work Per ogni tempi (for all seasons).

Vicar Reverend Helen Jacobi said “We decided not to present this Cantata as a concert but woven into our worship as an offering for ourselves and others who want to allow themselves to be transported by the music. For many people music is a way to experience the divine.”


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