Bach and his Cantatas

Bath Recitals 2022 opens on 9 April with a dazzling Easter concert with music by the master of the Cantata: JS Bach…

Schlosskirche in Weimar (c. 1660, burned 1774)

During his long life Bach wrote a huge number of cantatas, of which over 200 have survived. In 1707 when Bach was 22 he took up an appointment as the organist of St. Blasius church in Mühlhausen. He probably composed a cantata as an audition piece. Composing cantatas soon became an expected part of his role for special occasions such as New Years Day, weddings and funerals.

What is a Cantata?

A cantata is a vocal composition with an instrumental accompaniment, typically in several movements, often involving a choir. The name derives from the Italian verb cantare, ‘to sing’.

Bach took up a new job in Weimar in 1708. By 1714 he had became Konzertmeister and the composition of cantatas for the Schlosskirche (court chapel) now became a monthly expectation. 

But in 1723 he started a new post as Kantor at the Thomaskirche and Nikolaikirche in Leipzig. Now his job was to compose a new cantata every week, rehearsing with soloists, chorus and orchestra, and performing them, conducting from the keyboard, every Sunday and church holidays.

Thomaskirche in Leipzig, 1885

After Bach’s death the cantatas fell into obscurity and remained forgotten until a society called the Bach-Gesellschaft began to publish the composer’s complete works from 1851. Today these wonderful works are given a new lease of life both within the liturgy and outside of it.

The ambition of the Oxford Bach Soloists is to perform, in sequence, JS Bach’s complete vocal works over 12 years. The aim is to perform Bach’s works as he himself would have realised them with performers, instruments, and venues that echo the university and churches of Bach’s hometown of Leipzig.

Oxford Bach Soloists
JS Bach: 
Cantatas for Easter and Ascension

Saturday 9 April, 7:30pm. St Michael’s Church, Broad Street, Bath, BA1 5LJ

Cantata 4: 
Christ lag in Todesbanden BWV4 
Christ lay in the Bonds of Death

Cantata 31:
Der Himmel lacht! Die Erde jubilieret BWV31
Heaven laughs! Earth exults

Cantata 166: 
Wo gehest du hin? BWV166 
Where are you going?

Cantata 37:
Wer da gläubet und getauft wird BWV37 
He who believes and is baptised

Bach Cantatas come to Bath

The Oxford Bach Soloists return to Bath for this beautiful Easter concert which launches the Bath Recitals 2022 season…

This concert opens with two of Bach’s earliest cantatas from 1707 and 1715. These were composed for Easter Day and will be performed in their revived Leipzig versions.

As we move towards Christ’s Ascension and departure from the earth, Cantata 166 is in a rather uncertain vein asking the question Wo gehest du hin? (Where are you going?). Yet Bach’s music is always full of hope.

Clearing the skies to joy and laughter, this concert ends with a vibrant cantata which depicts the soul winging heavenward.

Four glorious cantatas in one concert by the grand master of the German Baroque.

Conductor Tom Hammond-Davies says:
‘Oxford Bach Soloists are delighted to be returning to Bath with this wonderful programme. After a long hiatus from in-person music-making, we cannot think of a better place to come back and visit! I look forward to seeing you there.’

Oxford Bach Soloists
JS Bach: 
Cantatas for Easter and Ascension

Saturday 9 April, 7:30pm
St Michael’s Church, Broad Street, Bath, BA1 5LJ

Cantata 4: 
Christ lag in Todesbanden BWV4 
Christ lay in the Bonds of Death

Cantata 31:
Der Himmel lacht! Die Erde jubilieret BWV31
Heaven laughs! Earth exults

INTERVAL

Cantata 166: 
Wo gehest du hin? BWV166 
Where are you going?

Cantata 37:
Wer da gläubet und getauft wird BWV37 
He who believes and is baptised

Love your Local Arts Charity

 ❤️ Now is a great time to renew your membership or join as a Friend to help us to support young British musicians during 2022…

Bath Recitals is celebrating its 40th anniversary year during 2021-2022. Over four decades we have given a platform to young professional musicians with over 600 concerts being staged in the city. Many of these events provided a valuable platform for the stars of today.

❤️ We are now planning a vibrant series of concerts for 2022 which will be announced soon. Give us your support to help us keep this tradition alive in 2022 and beyond.

Our wonderful city centre venue at the historic church of St Michael’s Without is the perfect setting for classical music with superb acoustics, comfortable seating and bar.

And our colourful and informative digital programmes are now FREE and available to download in advance or at the concert.

❤️ Without the love and support of our friends we simply wouldn’t be able to stage our amazing concerts. You can become a Friend of Bath Recitals for a minimum donation of just £30 a year and enjoy our concerts even more knowing that you are supporting our valuable work with young British musicians.

Christmas Restored!

Passamezzo bring their unique twist to the Christmas festivities on 15 December…

Old Christmas Returned: Christmas celebrated, banned and restored in 17th century England

Passamezzo’s programme takes us on a journey through the Christmas’s as they were celebrated in 17th century England. A time when Christmas was a time of celebration, merriment and feasting, of music, dancing and fun. 

The banning of Christmas…

However, in 1647, Parliament had won the civil war, The King was held in captivity and the Church of England had been abolished. The new hardline Protestant regime restructured religion across the British Isles, and holy days, Christmas included, were abolished – the world was turned upside down!

Everything festive was forbidden from decorations to gatherings. Rebellions broke out across the land from simply hanging holly as an act of defiance to far more radical action from others who fought against the prohibition of Christmas as a political act.

People soon became fed up with a range of restrictions and financial difficulties that came with the Presbyterian system and the fallout of the civil war.

After 13 years the Christmas ban was finally lifted with the restoration of King Charles II in 1660. At last the festivities could recommence!

Passamezzo
Passamezzo presents with a distinct theatrical air created by costume, readings and captivating music. The ensemble delights in all aspects of musical life, from the intimacy of the lute song, to the brash raucousness of the broadside ballad, from the sacred part song, to the profane insanity of bedlamite mad songs.

Years of fascinating research by Passamezzo have revealed music rediscovered from their original manuscript sources. Their programmes include pieces that have lain hidden for centuries. 
Passamezzo

Tickets now include a free digital programme!

🎄 Passamezzo for Christmas? 🎄

We are all looking forward to Christmas more than ever this year…

… so don’t miss out on our fabulous festive concert, Old Christmas Returned, with Passamezzo on 15 December.

Limited availability now on tickets

But did you know that for several years during the Civil War in the 17th Century, Puritans attempted to ban Christmas altogether!

It wasn’t until the restoration of King Charles II in 1660 that Christmas could be celebrated once again across the land.

In 17th century England, Christmas began officially just after Halloween, with a fast that lasted from Saint Martin’s day until Christmas Eve. This was followed by 12 lively days of feasting and revelry – certainly not just on Christmas Day itself!

Did you know?

🎅 Christmas was a time when the wealthy opened their houses to poorer folk, and provided food for their workers.

🎅 Twelfth Night was a time for wassailing crops to help them grow, and of drinking from the wassail bowl

🎅 Christmas was not considered to be truly over until the feast of Candlemas (2 February), when candles were blessed in church, and evergreen decorations were finally taken down. 

🎅 These festivities were reviled by the Puritans, who saw them as ungodly, and attempted to ban Christmas during the Civil War and the Interregnum.

Join us at St Michael’s (just opposite Waitrose) for this Christmas feast with Passamezzo and Old Christmas Returned at 7.30pm on 15 December. 

This terrific seasonal celebration will feature music, words and song plus carols, ballads, lute songs, dances and readings. 

🎄Tickets now include a free digital programme! 🎄

Christmas Celebrated, Banned and Restored

Passamezzo are coming to Bath Recitals on 15 December with Old Christmas Returned – a terrific celebration of Music, Words and Song for Christmas with carols, ballads, consort music, lutesongs, dance melodies and readings.

This seasonal programme follows the calendar from Advent to Candlemas and showing how Christmas was celebrated, banned and restored in 17th Century England.

The programme will include music by Byrd, Peerson, Dowland, Gibbons, Locke and Purcell as well as readings by Herrick, Shakespeare, Prynne and Taylor.

‘The company of singers and players brilliantly evoked this tumultuous period of English history’

Paul Lewis – Isle of Wight County Press

This wonderful event will be performed in Elizabethan costume featuring:

  • Eleanor Cramer (Soprano, Bass Viol)
  • Alison Kinder (Viols, Recorders)
  • Tamsin Lewis(Renaissance Violin, Viols, Alto)
  • Robin Jeffrey (Lute, Guitar)
  • Michael Palmer (Actor, Baritone)

Passamezzo

Old Christmas Returned

Wednesday 15 December, 7.30pm
St. Michael’s Church, Broad Street, Bath BA1 5LJ

Featuring music by Peerson, Byrd, Gibbons, Locke and Purcell.

And with readings by Herrick, Shakespeare, Prynne and Taylor.

Tickets now include a free digital programme!

A Celebration of Musical Talent

Meet the musicians from the Albany Piano Trio, performing music by Beethoven and Dvořák, amongst others for Bath Recitals on 16 October…

Founded in 2010, the Albany Trio recently gave their BBC Radio 3 debut lunchtime concert live on International Women’s Day, and have appeared at major venues around the UK.

Alongside their extensive repertoire of classical music for piano trio, the Albany is also committed to bringing works by female composers to new audiences. They recently commissioned their fourth Trio: The Orchid and its Hunters by Judith Bingham. Premiered live on BBC Radio 3, this exciting work will be performed as part of this concert.

‘Fastidious musicianship’

Musical Opinion Quarterly

Judith Choi-Castro violin

Born in the Canary Islands, Judith studied in London and New York and obtained a BMus (Hons) degree and a Master’s degree from the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music.

In 2015, Judith recorded her debut album “Assorted Encores” sponsored by the Ayuntamiento de Candelaria and is the Artistic Director of the Festival Academy of Music International in Tenerife, which celebrated the 17th Anniversary in February 2021

Verity Evanson cello

Verity studied at St John’s College, Oxford and the Royal College of Music.  She has toured with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and the London Concert Orchestra and has recently worked on film sessions with London Contemporary Orchestra.  

Verity has appeared on BBC television, Channel 4 and Radio 1 Live Lounge. Working with the pop group Bastille she collaborated on their hugely successful debut and Brit Award nominated album Bad Blood.

Pippa Harrison piano

Pippa has an extensive and varied career performing as soloist and chamber musician throughout the UK and abroad. She has broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, BBC Proms Extra, BBC Radio Ulster, and Bulgarian national radio, and has performed at the Bridgewater Hall, St John’s Smith Square, Stoller Hall, Fairfield Halls, at the Tromsø Festival, Banff Centre, the Reid Hall, and at King’s Place. 

Albany Trio

The Orchid and its Hunters

Enjoy fabulous music by Beethoven, Judith Bingham, Turina and Dvořák as we celebrate 40 years of Bath Recitals in the heart of Bath.

Saturday 16 October, 7.30pm
St. Michael’s Church, Broad Street, Bath BA1 5LJ

Beethoven Trio in E Flat major, Op.1 No.1
Judith Bingham The Orchid and its Hunters (2015)
Turina Circulo Op.91
Dvořák Piano Trio No.4 in E minor Op.90, B166 Dumky

Tickets now include a free digital programme!

The Orchid and its Hunters

What’s behind the title of the next Bath Recitals event with the Albany Piano Trio on 16 October…?

The Victorian mania for orchids – or orchidelirium as they called it – rivalled the 18th century craze for tulips! Competing plant hunters undertook hazardous journeys to the most dangerous parts of the world, often losing their lives to illness or animal and native attacks.

Having stripped whole areas of orchids, they would often burn the area to stop other hunters taking anything. Transporting tons of orchids by ship back to Britain meant that most, if not all, of the plants were dead after the long journey.

Did you know…

The Victorian writer, philosopher and art critic, John Ruskin referred to Orchids as ‘prurient apparitions.’ He said that women should not be allowed to look at them.

Judith Bingham

The Albany Trio commissioned this work from British composer Judith Bingham OBE in 2015 to mark International Women’s Day. It’s five short movements create sound worlds which explore the various facets of these exotic plants.

CLICK HERE to listen to a performance of The Orchid and its Hunters by the Albany Trio.

Three great works from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries complete the varied programme in this concert opening with an engaging early work by Beethoven – the first of a set of three piano trios composed in 1795 and first performed in the house of Prince Lichnowsky to whom they are dedicated. It’s a great opener showcasing bright, lively characters throughout.

Spanish composer Joaquin Turina

The Spanish composer Joaquin Turina shows off his Andalusian musical roots in this colourful three movement fantasia ‘Circulo’ from 1936 – although its premiere was held back until 1942 due to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. It’s three movements evoke the daily cycle from Dawn through Noon and to Twilight.

One of the best known works for Piano Trio forms the second half of the concert with the 4th Piano Trio by the Czech composer Antonín Dvořák. This piece is also known as the ‘Dumky Trio’ – a Slavic / Ukrainian term relating to the epic ballads of captive people. Dvořák’s masterful use of this Dumka form contrasts a brooding, introspective composition with alternating cheerful sections.

Join us as we celebrate 40 years of Bath Recitals with this fabulous evening of wonderful music in the heart of Bath.


Albany Trio

Albany Trio

The Orchid and its Hunters

Saturday 16 October, 7.30pm
St. Michael’s Church, Broad Street, Bath BA1 5LJ

Beethoven Trio in E Flat major, Op.1 No.1
Judith Bingham The Orchid and its Hunters (2015)
Turina Circulo Op.91
Dvořák Piano Trio No.4 in E minor Op.90, B166 Dumky

Tickets now include a free digital programme!

This concert is kindly supported by:

The Carne Trust

Join us for our Ruby celebration

Bath Recitals celebrates 40 year of music making in Bath with the Albany Piano Trio on 16 October…

Since 1981 Bath Recitals has given a platform to young professional musicians with over 600 concerts and events being staged in the city.

Tom Clarke and David Gregory came to Bath in 1980 and by the following year were providing this much needed platform for young professional musicians. 

Bath Recitals has attracted artists and audiences from around the world to perform in the city’s concert halls, churches and public buildings – such as in the famous Pump Rooms (pictured).

These chamber events have had a hugely positive impact on Bath’s cultural scene as well as giving invaluable support for emerging artists. 

Over the past 40 years Bath Recitals has helped some of the household names of today such as Nicholas Daniel OBE, Aisa Ijiri and Julius Drake rise successfully to the top of their professions: 

Nicholas Daniel OBE, Aisa Ijiri and Julius Drake

Help us celebrate our Ruby Anniversary on 16 October as we welcome three of the best young musicians of today perform a beautiful programme of music for Piano Trio.

Albany Trio
The Orchid and its Hunters

Saturday 16 October, 7.30pmSt. Michael’s Church, Broad Street, Bath BA1 5LJ

Beethoven: Trio in E Flat major, Op.1 No.1
Judith Bingham: The Orchid and its Hunters (2015)
Turina: Circulo Op.91
Dvořák: Piano Trio No.4 in E minor Op.90, B166 Dumky

Tickets now include a free digital programme!

Live Music from Bath Recitals…

Thanks to everyone who joined our packed audience last Saturday for a fabulous evening of Baroque music performed by the youthful and vibrant Convivio at St Michael’s. Here’s a short video glimpse of that memorable evening. 

So what’s next…?

Coming up on 16 October is the Albany Piano Trio and an evening of music by Beethoven, Turina, Dvořák and Judith Bingham.

The title of this concert comes from the name of the work by Judith Bingham OBE: The Orchid and its Hunters. This was a commission the group made in 2015 for International Women’s Day.  

Prior to this we open the concert with an engaging early work by Beethoven. Later in the programme there is a a terrific chamber work by Joaquin Turina. Circulo is a three movement fantasia for Piano, Violin and Cello.

We conclude with one of the most enduring pieces for this genre with Dvořák’s 4th Piano Trio in E minor – among the composer’s best-known works.

Also known as the ‘Dumky Trio’, a Slavic / Ukrainian term which relates to the epic ballads of captive people. Dvořák masterful user of this dumka form contrasts a brooding, introspective composition with alternating cheerful sections.

Albany Trio

The Orchid and its Hunters
Saturday 16 October, 7.30pm
St. Michael’s Church, Broad Street, Bath BA1 5LJ

Beethoven: Trio in E Flat major, Op.1 No.1
Judith Bingham: The Orchid and its Hunters (2015)
Turina: Circulo Op.91
Dvořák: Piano Trio No.4 in E minor Op.90, B166 Dumky

Tickets now include a free digital programme!

This concert is kindly supported by:

The Carne Trust