Once again, VOCES8 makes my day … or night … or perhaps both.

Session footage from VOCES8’s recording of cantata 150 ‘Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich’ by JS Bach. VOCES8 is recording with the Academy of Ancient Music (Bojan Cicic, leader), directed by Barnaby Smith. The track forms part of the VOCES8’s 15th anniversary recording project, ‘After Silence’, and can be found on all digital music platforms. For more information about the album project, visit VOCES8 After Silence.

Notes by Paul Williamson
Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich, BWV 150, known only from secondary sources, is probably Bach’s earliest surviving cantata, written while he was organist at the Neue Kirche in Arnstadt (1703–7). The work’s modest scoring reflects the limited musical resources at his disposal; it is also an old- style Protestant cantata, untouched by the reforms of Erdmann Neumeister, who advocated the introduction of madrigalesque poetry, operatic recitatives and da capo arias. BWV 150 takes a more restrained Lutheran approach, setting texts from Scripture (verses from Psalm 25 in movements 2, 4 and 6) alongside interpretative stanzas by an unknown poet (in movements 3, 5 and 7). To understand the Psalms, Luther said, we must consider that David was a prophet, and unless he instructs otherwise, we must take the sacred poetry to refer to Christ. Accordingly, in BWV 150, the Psalmist’s entreaties to the God of the Old Testament find Christian meanings in the exegetical modern verse. Similarly, commenting on Psalm 25:15 (set in movement 6), Luther explains the image of the ‘foot’ being released from the ‘net’ as the redemptive power of God’s grace, delivering the faithful from worldly snares. Valuing sacred music as a divine gift, Luther also compared the harmonious singing of many voices to a ‘heavenly dance’, a point surely recalled by Bach in the final movement of Nach dir, Herr, which takes the form of a chaconne. Nearly two centuries later, Bach’s inviting little dance was famously reborn in the final movement of Brahms’ Fourth Symphony, premiered in October 1885.

Text and Translation
Words: Psalm 25:1–2, 5, 15 (mvts 2, 4, 6); anon. (mvts 3, 5, 7)

1. Sinfonia

2. Chor
Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich. Mein Gott, ich hoffe auf dich. Laß mich nicht zuschanden werden, daß sich meine Feinde nicht freuen über mich.
Lord, I long for you. My God, I hope in you.
Let me not be put to shame, so that my enemies will not rejoice over me.

3. Arie (Soprano)
Doch bin und bleibe ich vergnügt, Obgleich hier zeitlich toben Kreuz, Sturm und andre Proben, Tod, Höll, und was sich fügt.
Ob Unfall schlägt den treuen Knecht, Recht ist und bleibet ewig Recht.
Yet I am and remain content, although at the moment here may rage
cross, storm and other trials, death, hell, and what is theirs. Though misfortune strike the true servant, right is and remains eternally right.

4. Chor
Leite mich in deiner Wahrheit und lehre mich; denn du bist der Gott, der mir hilft, täglich harre ich dein.
Lead me in your Truth and teach me; for you are the God, who helps me, I await you daily.

5. Terzett (Alto, Tenor, Bass)
Zedern müssen von den Winden Oft viel Ungemach empfinden, Oftmals werden sie verkehrt.
Rat und Tat auf Gott gestellet, Achtet nicht, was widerbellet, Denn sein Wort ganz anders lehrt.
Cedars must, before the winds, often feel much hardship, often they will be destroyed. Place your words and deeds before God,
heed not what howls against you, since his Word teaches otherwise.

6. Chor
Meine Augen sehen stets zu dem Herrn; denn er wird meinen Fuß aus dem Netze ziehen.
My eyes gaze continually at the Lord; for he will draw my foot out of the net.

7. Chor
Meine Tage in den Leiden
Endet Gott dennoch zur Freuden; Christen auf den Dornenwegen Führen Himmels Kraft und Segen. Bleibet Gott mein treuer Schutz, Achte ich nicht Menschentrutz; Christus, der uns steht zur Seiten. Hilft mir täglich sieghaft streiten.
My days in suffering
God will nevertheless end in joy; Christians upon the thorny pathways are led by Heaven’s power and blessing.
If God remains my dearest treasure, I need not heed mankind’s cruelty; Christ, who stands by our side, helps me daily fight to victory.

Academy of Ancient Music
Bojan Cicic, Violin I (Leader)
Davina Clarke, Violin II
Jonathan Byers, Cello
Judith Evans, Double Bass
Ursula Leveaux, Bassoon
Alastair Ross, Organ
William Carter, Theorbo

The Lord Bless You and Keep You

More than 500 voices, all affiliated with Abilene Christian, came together virtually to sing “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” during the global pandemic. This beloved song, based on Numbers 6:24-26, has been a tradition at ACU since the 1930s. Videos were contributed from around the world, including the United States, Canada, Turkey, Germany, Thailand and Japan. The video was released April 10, 2020 on Good Friday.

The Netherlands Wind Ensemble treats us to this wonderful
arrangement (by Willem van Merwijk) arrangement of Strauss’s Beim Schlafengehen, sung by Carina Vinke.

Goodnight

Ah, the fabulous Voces8!

May it be an evening star
Shines down upon you
May it be when darkness falls
Your heart will be true
You walk a lonely road
Oh, how far you are from home

Mornië utúlië ((darkness has come))
Believe and you will find your way
Mornië alantië ((darkness has fallen))
A promise lives within you now

May it be the shadows call
Will fly away
May it be your journey on
To light the day
When the night is overcome
You may rise to find the sun

Mornië utúlië ((darkness has come))
Believe and you will find your way
Mornië alantië ((darkness has fallen))
A promise lives within you now

A promise lives within you now

17. July 2017 · Comments Off on Good Night! · Categories: Goodnight Music

I’ve posted this before. That doesn’t mean this will be the last time I post it. I just love it and occasionally need to hear it again. I hope some of you enjoy it as well.

Andreas Scholl – Countertenor
Idan Raichel – In stiller Nacht
Tamar Halperin arr., piano
Morphing Chamber Orchestra

Music Director Tomasz Wabnic
RAZEM – Vienna 2016
Morphing Music Institute

15. July 2017 · Comments Off on Goodnight! · Categories: ACappellaAnyday™, Goodnight Music

Daniel Hughes: Irish Blessing
The King’s Singers, The Choral Project and the San José State University Choraliers

(The opening with The King’s Singers seems to be something else, having looked at the score to Hughes’ work, but I don’t know what it is: perhaps it’s an intro he wrote to go with his Irish Blessing, but I’ve no clue.)

11. June 2017 · Comments Off on Bonus Music · Categories: Choral, Goodnight Music

Because it may speak to some …

Text: The Road Home

Tell me where is the road I can call my own,
That I left, that I lost, so long ago.
All these years I have wondered, oh when will I know,
There’s a way, there’s a road that will lead me home.

After wind, After rain, when the dark is done,
As I wake from a dream, in the gold of day,
Through the air there’s a calling from far away,
There’s a voice I can hear that will lead me home.

Rise up, follow me, come away is the call
With (the) love in your heart as the only song
There is no such beauty as where you belong
Rise up, follow me, I will lead you home.

26. February 2017 · Comments Off on Goodnight · Categories: Goodnight Music, Listen

Bysjan, bysjan lite bån – Den norske Studentersangforening

Hush, hush little child, time to sleep,
the girl goes quietly to her bed,
the old one to the chamber.
Outside a pale light shines, shooting stars
and moonlight light up the forest until day begins to dawn.
Light up the way, starlight and moon,
for many a lost soul on the road, hush, hush child

13. December 2016 · Comments Off on Goodnight Music · Categories: Goodnight Music

René Clausen: Tonight Eternity Alone
The Singers; Matthew Culloton, Conductor

Tonight eternity alone is near,
the sunset, and the darkening blue,
there is no space for fear,
only the wonder of its truth.

Thomas S Jones (1882-1932)

12. December 2016 · Comments Off on Goodnight Music · Categories: Goodnight Music

Eric Whitacre: Sleep
Poem by Charles Anthony Silvestri … please read his story about this!
VocalEssence Chorus & Ensemble Singers, The St. Olaf Choir, and the 160-voice Minnesota High School Honors Choir; Eric Whitacre, Conductor