All Souls’ Day
In Bach’s day – and especially in Bach’s music – death did not feel like a fearful end, but rather like a promising gateway to eternal life.
The world leads us astray and death is our salvation.“
It is traditional on All Souls’ Day to remember loved ones who have passed away. The cantata Komm, du süße Todesstunde exudes the Lutheran idea that losing our loved ones is also a gain, as through his sacrifice Jesus opened the way to heaven. The cantata represents a comforting belief: the world leads us astray and death is our salvation. This was especially true of Bach’s audience, who could still vividly remember the Thirty Years’ War.
Alex Potter and his illustrious cast work up to Bach’s wonderful cantata via a rich programme of chorales, motets and instrumental works by Jacob Gallus and Johann Rosenmüller, whose 400th anniversary we are celebrating in 2019. The theme of the music is mankind’s mortality, but then with the hope of redemption. A memento mori in the belief that a good life will be rewarded at its end.
Works and Performance
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
Komm, du süße Todesstunde, BWV 161
And works by Jacob Gallus, Martin Luther and Johann Rosenmüller
Netherlands Bach Society
Alex Potter, alto and leader
Dorothee Mields, soprano
Thomas Hobbs, tenor
Stephan MacLeod, bass