Saturday 10 December 2011

For Advent: Karl Richter conducts Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 61

It is almost a fortnight late, I know, given that this cantata was intended for the first Sunday in Advent, yet we are still very much in the right season, despite the best efforts of marketing interests to persuade us that this time is somehow 'Christmas' or 'festive'. Besides, Leipzig observed the tempus clausum during both Lent and Advent (the second Lent, certainly not a time for 'Christmas parties'), so no concerted music would be performed at St Thomas's on Sundays following the first. We can perhaps afford to be a little less abstemious, especially in the face of so overwhelming a performance as this, responsive almost without effort to words, to theology, and to Bach's astounding musical invention. The chorale is, of course, Martin Luther's.

Richter's Munich Bach Choir and Orchestra perform; the soloists, as many listeners will doubtless recognise from their voices alone, are Edith Mathis, Peter Schreier, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.