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Bach Week Festival presents BWV 21 "Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis" featuring Rosalind Lee

  • Anderson Chapel - North Park University 5416 N Spaulding Ave Chicago, IL 60625 USA (map)

Several years into his tenure as music director to the court of Weimar, Johann Sebastian Bach was instructed to write one cantata a month for the chapel services. Near the beginning of this series Bach wrote what was to be his largest sacred Cantata, "Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis," BWV 21.  Not only was this work written to go with the readings for the third Sunday after Trinity, but it served as a farewell to the gravely ill Prince Johann Ernst of Sachsen-Weimar. The young prince, who had been one of Bach's favorite and most talented pupils, was on his way to a spa in Swabia where he later died.  Bach uses the main tune from a movement of Vivaldi's D Minor Concerto, Opus 3 #11, as the theme for the opening chorus.  The concerto had been a favorite of the prince and with its moving text describing a grave illness, the whole movement should be seen as an homage to the young prince.

The work itself covers many different styles. The second and last choruses probably date from very early in Bach's career.  The opening and the great chorale prelude "Sei nun wieder zufrieden," were written in 1714. Many of the movements were extensively revised for Bach's first Leipzig Cantata cycle in 1723.  Certainly the work has a refinement and finish to it unknown in his early Weimar years.

Bach Week Festival Orchestra and Chorus & North Park University Chamber Singers  present this beloved cantata featuring soloists Rosalind Lee, William Watson, and Will Liverman with guest conductor Julia Davids in a program that also includes Die Kunst der Fuge, BWV 1080

$30 Adults • $20 Seniors  • $10 Students