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NOTES ON THE PROGRAM

Ken Meltzer Program Annotator

Magnificat in D Major, BWV 243 (1723) JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH was born in Eisenach, Germany, on March 21, 1685, and died in Leipzig, Germany, on July 28, 1750. The Magnificat is scored for Recording: two soprano, alto, tenor, and bass solos, mixed chorus, two flutes, Robert Shaw, Conductor two oboes, two oboe d’amore, bassoon, three trumpets, timpani, (Telarc CD-80194) continuo, and strings. Bach, Prince Leopold, and Cöthen

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rom 1717-1723, German composer Johann Sebastian Bach served as Kappellmeister to Prince Leopold, whose court was located in Cöthen, approximately sixty miles north of Weimar. Prince Leopold was an avid and talented musician who, according to Bach: “loved music, he was well acquainted with it, he understood it.” The Prince both sang and played several instruments. In addition, Prince Leopold hired some of Europe’s greatest instrumentalists to serve as his court musicians. As Prince Leopold’s court was Calvinist, Bach’s duties did not include the composition of liturgical music. Bach instead responded with an extraordinary outpouring of instrumental creations. Bach’s Cöthen works include such masterpieces as the first book of the Well-Tempered Clavier, the Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin and the Suites for Solo Cello, and the Brandenburg Concertos. Bach in Leipzig In December of 1721, Prince Leopold wed his cousin, Friederica Henriette of AnhaltBernburg. The Princess shared none of her husband’s passion for the arts. Over time, the Prince’s support for musical activities in Cöthen declined, thereby placing a strain on his relationship with Bach. In 1723, Bach left Prince Leopold’s Court to begin his service as Music Director of Leipzig’s St. Thomas Church and School. During his initial five or six years in Leipzig, Bach created an incredible body of sacred vocal works, including five Cantata cycles for every Sunday and feast day. The magnificent St. John (1724) and St. Matthew (1727) Passions also date from this early Leipzig period. One might be tempted to suspect that such a demanding schedule would generate a kind of routine, and music of lesser quality. Instead, Bach responded with sacred vocal music that remains without equal not only for its prolific numbers, but also for variety, invention, and eloquence. The Magnificat Another masterpiece from Bach’s early years in Leipzig is the Magnificat (1723), scored for vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra. Bach first composed the Magnificat for Christmas Day, 1723. The original version of the Magnificat is in E-flat Major and includes recorders. In addition to the work’s twelve principal sections, the first version of the Magnificat incorporates three choruses and a soprano-bass duet, all relating to Christmas. 38 aso.org | @AtlantaSymphony | facebook.com/AtlantaSymphony

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Encore Atlanta is the official show program for the Fox Theatre; Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Alliance Theatre at Woodruff Arts Center; Th...

ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA ENCORE :: DECEMBER 2018  

Encore Atlanta is the official show program for the Fox Theatre; Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Alliance Theatre at Woodruff Arts Center; Th...