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Composers Datebook®

with host John Birge

Friday, January 1

Gardiner and Bach's Cantatas

Synopsis

Today we celebrate hopeful beginnings – and happy endings.

In Leipzig, on New Year’s Day 1724, Johann Sebastian Bach led the first performance of “Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied“ (or “Sing to the Lord a New Song” in English) – a work we now know as his Cantata 190.

About 200 of Bach’s church cantatas have survived, and for the Millennium Year 2000 the British conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner decided to perform and record of all of them in the space of one liturgical year in historical churches in Europe and America. Starting on Christmas Day 1999, in Weimar, Germany, Gardiner, the Monteverdi Choir, and English Baroque Soloists set out to do just that.

It was an ambitious undertaking, and Gardiner commented, “Just as in planning to scale a mountain or cross an ocean, you can make meticulous provision, calculate your route and get all the equipment in order, in the end you have to deal with whatever the elements – both human and physical – throw at you at any given moment.”

Gardiner’s Bach Cantata Pilgrimage came to its triumphant conclusion on New Year’s Eve, 2000 at St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City, with a performance of Bach’s Cantata 190.

Music Played in Today's Program

J.S. Bach (1685 – 1750) Cantata No. 190 Monteverdi Choir; English Baroque Soloists; Sir John Eliot Gardiner, cond. SDG 137

Additional Information

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