JS Bach: Cantata BWV 76

Sunday 19th April 2015 – 12pm – Duke’s Hall, Royal Academy of Music

Performed as Part of the Academy/Kohn Foundation Bach Cantata Series

JS Bach: Ich bin in mir vergnügt, BWV 204 (I am content in myself)

JS Bach: Prelude and Fugue in C, BWV 547

JS Bach: Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes, BWV 76 (The heavens declare the glory of God)


Božidar Smiljanić – Bass-Baritone

Iain Ledingham – Director

Rachel Podger  – Leader

Joseph Beech  – Organ

Performed on period instruments

‘Ich bin in mir vergnügt’ BWV 204 is concerned with a favourite Lutheran theme: contentment with our fate as ordained by God. Composed in either 1727 or 1728, this cantata is likely to have been for domestic performance within Bach’s immediate circle. Despite being set for single solo soprano, Bach achieves contrast through radical changes in the instrumental scoring: the series of arias feature different obligato lines (two oboes, violin and flute respectively), only to be combined in the fourth and final aria depicting ‘divine contentment’. An overall atmosphere of calm is created through figurations of oscillating motion and reposed passages of pedal points.

Performed on 6th June 1723, ‘Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes’ BWV 76 is the second cantata that Bach wrote as Thomascantor in Leipzig. As with the first cantata of his new appointment (BWV 75), Bach shows a dedication and determination to the role through the work’s large dimensions and complex musical construction. The text, which refers to the Sunday Gospel, is a glorification of God’s handiwork. This is met with musical generosity: the large-scale opening chorus is texturally vibrant with independent orchestral parts. The second part of the cantata is more meditative, emphasising chamber music timbres, with obligato writing for oboe d’amore and viola da gamba.

Tickets £13 (concessions £10), season discounts available, on sale online now, by telephone 020 7873 7300 (weekdays, 10.00am–4.00pm).

Each cantata concert begins at midday and lasts around one hour. The Academy’s restaurant will be open for light refreshments from 10.30am until the start of each concert.

For booking, click HERE.