Bach and Beyond – The Gaudete Singers

  • Music
  • Sun 13 Nov
  • 20.00
  • €20, €15, €5
  • Tickets available at the door


Bach and Beyond

Sunday 13th November 8pm – St Patrick’s Cathedral Lady Chapel Dublin 8

Two Bach motets with Brahms, Bruckner and Mendelssohn motets
The Gaudete Singers directed by David Leigh



€20; €15 Concession; €5 Student. Includes a glass of wine or soft drink after the concert.


Jesu, meine Freude (BWV 227) Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)
Fürchte dich nicht, ich bin bei dir (BMV 228)

Warum ist das Licht gegeben dem Müseligen? Johannes Brahms (1833 – 1897)
Os Justi Anton Bruckner (1824 – 1896)
Der 43ste Psalm: Richte mich Gott Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847)

Although Bach’s cantatas are more numerous and better known, Bach’s motets stand out as masterpieces of the Baroque period. The two motets featured in this concert are:

Jesu, meine Freude (BWV 227)
The longest and most musically complex of Bach’s six motets and one of few works by Bach in five parts. The words of the chorale are from a Lutheran hymn by Johann Franck (first published in 1653). The hymn tune is by Johann Crüger and the work is in 11 movements. The six stanzas of the chorale appear as the odd numbered movements throughout the motet interspersed by the even numbered movements, which are settings of five verses Romans 8: verses 1, 2 and 9 – 11.

Four-part chorale harmonisations of stanzas 1 and 6 begin and end the work, stanzas 2 and 4 are alternative harmonisations of the tune. Stanza 3 “Trotz dem alten Drachen” (Despite the old dragon) is a free setting that quotes only motifs of the hymn tune and stanza 5 is a chorale fantasia “Gute Nacht”. Four biblical verses are set in the style of a motet, two for five voices and two for three voices. The central movement from Romans 8: verse 9 is a five-part fugue, “Ihr aber seid nicht fleischlich, sondern geistlich” (But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit).

Fürchte dich nicht, ich bin bei dir (BMV 228)
This motet was possibly written for a funeral and perhaps for the funeral of Susanna Sophia Winckler held in Leipzig on 4th February 1726. However as the original manuscript no longer survives the work cannot be dated with certainty. Some scholars have suggested that it was written earlier during his time in Weimar between 1708 and 1717.

The motet is scored for double choir in 2 movements using text from Isaiah 41: verse 10 and 43: verse 1, the latter being a fugue with chorale. The chorale is stanzas 11 and 12 of the hymn Warum sollt mich denn grämen by Paul Gerhardt with a variant of the tune by Johann Georg Ebeling. The two choirs combine to sing this with the soprano line singing the chorale and the other 3 parts singing a fugue to the setting of Isaiah 43:1.

To complement the four motets the choir will perform works by three composers who came after Bach and who were influenced by his work.

Mendelssohn was responsible for the revival of Bach’s music in the 19th century. In 1828, at age 19, Mendelssohn organized what was thought to be the first performance in 100 years of Bach’s St Matthew’s Passion. Bach’s style and spirit influenced much of Mendelsohn’s work, particularly his organ music and oratorios.

The last word goes to Johannes Brahms who said, “Study Bach: there you will find everything.”