Ton Koopman / Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir

Cantatas For Marian Feasts

Format: CD
Label: Challenge Classics
UPC: 0608917228120
Catnr: CC 72281
Release date: 01 February 2008
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1 CD
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Challenge Classics
Catalogue number
CC 72281
Release date
01 February 2008

About the album

The Lutheran Reformation abandoned most of the many feasts which the medieval church dedicated to saints, but it kept St. Johns Day, St. Michael’s Day, and the three Marian Feasts: Annunciation (March 25), Visitation (July 2), and Purification (February 2).

The general importance of these feast days was underscored by the music written for them. The cantatas Bach wrote for the three Marian Feasts not only show magnificent orchestration but also a particular degree of elaboration. Hence, the overall design of these cantatas is noticeably different from that of those written for the ordinary Sundays of the Epiphany and Trinity seasons. As the Feast of Annunciation fell into the time of Lent, a five-week period without polyphonic music that was strictly observed in many areas of Lutheran Germany, the cantatas written for this occasion played as special role. For on March 25 they interrupted the musically silent period that ended with the performance of the Passion at the Good Friday vespers and the subsequent cantata for Easter Sunday, respectively.

The cantata “Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern“ BWV 1 for the Feast of Annunciation dates from 1725 and is based on the hymn by Philipp Nicolai (1599) that makes use of an older melody.

The chorale cantata „Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin“ BWV 125 was composed about two months earlier and performed at the Feast of Purification in 1725. Its text is based on the hymn by Martin Luther (1524).

The cantata “Komm, du süße Todesstunde” BWV 161 was originally written for the 16th Sunday after Trinity and probably received its first performance in the Weimar castle church on September 27, 1716. Bach revived the cantata in Leipzig and, apparently after 1735 altered its liturgical function as well by performing it on the Feast of Purification.
Fantastische en verfijnde Bachcantates voor de Mariafeesten
De Lutherse Reformatie schafte de meeste feesten die de middeleeuwse kerk aan heiligen opdroeg af, maar behield Sint Jansdag, Sint Michaelsdag, en de drie Mariafeesten: Annunciatie (25 maart) Maria-Visitatie (2 juli) en Maria-Lichtmis (2 februari).

Het algemene belang van deze feestdagen werd benadrukt door de muziek die ervoor werd geschreven. De cantates die Bach voor de drie Mariafeesten componeerde tonen niet alleen een fantastische orkestratie maar ook een bijzondere mate van verfijnde uitwerking. Om die reden verschilt de algehele vormgeving van deze cantates van degene die gecomponeerd werden voor de gewone zondagen van het Driekoningen- en Trinitatisseizoen.

Aangezien Annunciatie binnen de Vastentijd valt, een periode van vijf weken zonder polyfone muziek die in het Lutherse Duitsland streng werd nageleefd, speelde de cantates die voor deze gelegenheid gecomponeerd werden een bijzondere rol. Op 25 maart onderbroken cantates als Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern BWV 1 uit 1725 namelijk een muzikaal stille periode.

De koraalcantate Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin BWV 125, gebaseerd op de gelijknamige hymne van Luther, werd twee maanden eerder gecomponeerd en uitgevoerd tijdens Maria-Lichtmis.

Komm du süße Todesstunde BWV 161 werd oorspronkelijk gecomponeerd voor de zestiende zondag na Trinitatis en waarschijnlijk voor het eerst uitgevoerd in de Schlosskirche in Weimar op 27 september 1716. Bach blies in Leipzig nieuw leven in het werk en veranderde na 1735 de functie van het werk door het tijdens Maria-Lichtmis uit te voeren.
Die Kantaten, die Bach für die drei Marienfeste schrieb, weisen eine besonders ausführliche Ausarbeitung auf. Inhalt: Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern BWV 1 / Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin BWV 125 / Komm, du süße Todesstunde BWV 161

Die lutherische Reformation gab die meisten der vielen Feste auf, die die mittelalterliche Kirche den Heiligen widmete, aber sie behielt den Johannistag, den Michaelistag und die drei Marienfeste bei: Verkündigung (25. März), Heimsuchung (2. Juli) und Reinigung (2. Februar).

Die allgemeine Bedeutung dieser Festtage wurde durch die für sie geschriebene Musik unterstrichen. Die Kantaten, die Bach für die drei Marienfeste schrieb, weisen nicht nur eine prächtige Orchestrierung, sondern auch einen besonderen Grad der Ausarbeitung auf. Damit unterscheiden sich diese Kantaten in ihrer Gesamtgestaltung deutlich von denen, die für die gewöhnlichen Sonntage der Epiphanias- und Trinitatiszeit geschrieben wurden. Da das Fest der Verkündigung in die Fastenzeit fiel, eine fünfwöchige Periode ohne mehrstimmige Musik, die in vielen Gegenden des lutherischen Deutschlands streng eingehalten wurde, spielten die für diesen Anlass geschriebenen Kantaten eine besondere Rolle. Denn sie unterbrachen am 25. März die musikalisch stille Zeit, die mit der Aufführung der Passion in der Karfreitagsvesper bzw. der anschließenden Kantate zum Ostersonntag endete.


Ton Koopman was born in Zwolle in 1944. After a classical education he studied organ, harpsichord and musicology in Amsterdam and was awarded the Prix d'Excellence for both instruments. From the beginning of his musical studies he was fascinated by authentic instruments and a performance style based on sound scholarship and in 1969, at the age of 25, he created his first Baroque orchestra. In 1979 he founded the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra followed by the Amsterdam Baroque Choir in 1992.

Koopman's extensive and impressive activities as a soloist, accompanist and conductor have been recorded on a large number of LPs and CDs for labels like Erato, Teldec, Sony, Philips and DG, besides his own record label “Antoine Marchand”, distributed by Challenge Records.

Over the course of a forty-five-year career Ton Koopman has appeared in the most important concert halls and festivals of the five continents. As an organist he has performed on the most prestigious historical instruments of Europe, and as a harpsichord player and conductor of the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir he has been a regular guest at venues which include the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Théatre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, the Philharmonie in Munich, the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York and leading concert halls in Vienna, London, Berlin, Brussels, Madrid, Rome, Salzburg, Tokyo and Osaka.

Between 1994 and 2004 Ton Koopman has been engaged in a unique project, conducting and recording all the existing Cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach, a massive undertaking for which he has been awarded the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis "Echo Klassik", the BBC Award 2008, the Prix Hector Berlioz, has been nominated for the Grammy Award (USA) and the Gramophone Award (UK). In 2000 Ton Koopman has received an Honorary Degree from the Utrecht University for his academic work on the Bach Cantatas and Passions and has been awarded both the prestigious Silver Phonograph Prize and the VSCD Classical Music Award. In 2006 he has received the « Bach-Medaille » from the City of Leipzig.

Recently Ton Koopman has embarked on another main project: the recording of the whole works by Dietrich Buxtehude, one of the great inspirer of the young J.S. Bach. The recording will be accomplished in 2010 with the release of 30 CDs. Ton Koopman is President of the “International Dieterich Buxtehude Society”.

Ton Koopman is very active as a guest conductor and he has collaborated with many prominent orchestras in Europe, USA and Japan. He has been Principal Conductor of the Netherland Radio Chamber Orchestra and has collaborated with the Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam, DSO Berlin, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks in Munich, Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Cleveland Orchestra, Santa Cecilia in Rome, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie and Wiener Symphoniker. In the following season he will work on new programmes with the New York Philharmonic, DSO Berlin, Orchestra RAI in Turin, Stockholm Philharmonic, Tonhalle in Zurich. After the great success of his tour at the beginning of 2008, Ton Koopman has been nominated Artist in Residence at the Cleveland Orchestra for three consecutive years starting in 2011.

Ton Koopman publishes regularly and for a number of years he has been engaged in editing the complete Händel Organ Concertos for Breitkopf & Härtel. Recently he has published Händel’s Messiah and Buxtehude‘s Das Jüngeste Gericht for Carus. Ton Koopman leads the class of harpsichord at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, is Professor at the University of Leiden and is a Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Ton Koopman is artistic director of the French Festival “Itinéraire Baroque”.

Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir
Ton Koopman founded the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra in 1979. The group consists of internationally renowned baroque specialists who meet up several times a year and work together to prepare and perform new exciting programmes. For the musicians each concert is a new experience and Koopman's boundless energy and enthusiasm are a sure guarantee of the highest quality.

The Amsterdam Baroque Choir was founded in 1992 and it made its debut during the Holland Festival of Early Music in Utrecht performing the world première of the Requiem (for 15 voices) and Vespers (for 32 voices) by H.I.F. Biber. The recording of both of these works won the Cannes Classical Award for the best performance of 17th/18th century choral music. For its rare combination of textural clarity and interpretative flexibility, the Amsterdam Baroque Choir is considered among today’s most outstanding choirs.

In 1994 Ton Koopman and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir embarked upon the most ambitious recording project of the last decades: the integral recording of Bach’s secular and sacred cantatas. For this extraordinary project Koopman and his ensemble received the Deutsche Schallplatten-Preis Echo Klassik. Next to the CD recordings three books have been edited and published by Ton Koopman and the musicologist Christoph Wolff and a series of six documentaries was produced and broadcasted by various TV stations.

Alongside Bach’s music the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir has recorded all major baroque and classical works. Major recognitions include the Gramophone Award, Diapason d'Or, 10-Repertoire, Stern des Monats-Fono Forum, the Prix Hector Berlioz and two Edison Awards. In 2008 the ensemble and Ton Koopman have been honoured with the prestigious BBC Award.

Since March 2003 “Antoine Marchand”, a new sub-label of Challenge Classics, took over the release of Koopman’s new recordings and among many others has published 22 CD boxes of the Bach Cantatas, a new recording of the St. Matthew Passion (on CD and DVD) and St. Markus Passion of J.S. Bach (DVD), live recorded in Milan, as well as the first seven volumes of the Buxtehude Opera-Omnia Edition.

Ton Koopman and the ABO & ABC are regular guests at the major concert halls of Europe, the USA and Japan. In the 2008/09 season they will tour extensively in Europe (Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid, Vienna, Milan, Cologne, Dresden, Düsseldorf etc) and in Far East with concerts in Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo.



Play album
'Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern' BWV 1: Chorus: Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern
'Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern' BWV 1: Recitative: (Tenor): Du wahrer Gottes und Marien Sohn
'Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern' BWV 1: Aria (Soprano): Erfüllet, ihr himmlischen göttlichen Flammen
'Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern' BWV 1: Recitative (Bass): Ein irdscher Glanz, ein leiblich Licht
'Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern' BWV 1: Aria (Tenor): Unser Mund und Ton der Saiten
'Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern' BWV 1: Chorale: Wie bin ich doch so herzlich froh
'Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin' BWV 125: Chorus: Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin
'Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin' BWV 125: Aria (Alto): Ich will auch mit gebrochnen Augen
'Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin' BWV 125: Recitative (Bass) and Chorale: O Wunder, daß ein Herz
'Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin' BWV 125: Aria (Duet Tenor, Bass): Ein unbegreiflich Licht erfüllt
'Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin' BWV 125: Recitative (Alto): O unerschöpfter Schatz der Güte
'Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin' BWV 125: Chorale: Er ist das Heil und Selig Licht
'Komm, du süße Todesstunde' BWV 161: Aria (Alto): Komm, du süße Todesstunde
'Komm, du süße Todesstunde' BWV 161: Recitativo (Tenor): Welt, deine Lust ist Last
'Komm, du süße Todesstunde' BWV 161: Aria (Tenor): Mein Verlangen ist den Heiland zu umfangen
'Komm, du süße Todesstunde' BWV 161: Recitative (Alto): Der Schluß ist schon gemacht
'Komm, du süße Todesstunde' BWV 161: Chorus: Wenn es meines Gottes Wille
'Komm, du süße Todesstunde' BWV 161: Chorale (Chorus): Der Leib zwar in der Erden
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