Ton Koopman & Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir

Actus Tragicus

Format: CD
Label: Challenge Classics
UPC: 0608917228922
Catnr: CC 72289
Release date: 27 June 2008
1 CD
Challenge Classics
Catalogue number
CC 72289
Release date
27 June 2008

About the album

The two cantatas chosen for this album represent works composed by the younger Bach when he held positions as organist in Arnstadt (1703-07), Mühlhausen (1707-08), and Weimar (from 1708) and was not yet primarily responsible for vocal music. Supplying regular pieces for Sundays and holidays (“music of cantors”) was not part of the duties of an organist. Organists, however, frequently wrote works for funerals, weddings, and other special occasions. Bach apparently engaged in this kind of compositional activity from the very beginning even though only a fraction of pertinent works have survived.

Bach’s earliest vocal works demonstrate impressively that he understood how to operate on the level of the greatest composers of the late 17th century, indeed how to compete with Buxtehude, Pachelbel, and the older members of the Bach family, including above all Johann Christoph and Johann Michael Bach. Moreover, he knew how to introduce new musical elements into composing sacred pieces. Works like BWV 106 and 21 demonstrate how, in a deliberate confrontation with traditional and modern trends, Bach laid the foundation for a ifelong and extraordinarily productive occupation with the cantata genre.

The cantata “Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit” BWV 106 was composed for a funeral or memorial service. It must have been written at around 1707. The oldest source is a copy dated 1768 and made in Leipzig. It bears the heading “Actus tragicus,” a title that clearly sets the tone of the piece.

The cantata “Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis” BWV 21 shows a compositional design of a manner typical of the early Weimar period. It was not written for a specific liturgical occasion but could be performed “at any time.” However, the first documented performance took place in Weimar on the 3rd Sunday after Trinity in 1714. Yet the work is clearly of earlier origin even though its first version - most likely a setting of various psalm texts - did not survive.
Vroege vocale werken die de bekwaamheid van Bach tonen
De twee cantates op dit album vertegenwoordigen werken gecomponeerd door de jonge Bach toen hij als organist in Arnstadt (1703-1707), Mühlhausen (1707-1708) en Weimar (vanaf 1708) werkte en nog niet voornamelijk verantwoordelijk was voor vocale muziek. Het componeren van cantates voor de Zon- en feestdagen, ‘de muziek van cantors’, behoorde niet tot de taken van een organist. Organisten schreven echter regelmatig werken voor begrafenissen, bruiloften en andere bijzondere gelegenheden.

Bachs vroegste vocale werken laten op indrukwekkende wijze zien dat hij begreep hoe hij moest werken op hij niveau van de beste componisten van de late 17e eeuw, in feite hoe hij moest wedijveren met Buxtehude, Pachelbel en de oudere leden van zijn familie, onder wie boven alles Johann Christoph en Johann Michael Bach. Bovendien wist hij hoe hij nieuwe muzikale elementen moest introduceren in het componeren van geestelijke werken.

De twee cantates op dit album, Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit BWV 106 en Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis BWV 21 tonen aan hoe Bach in een opzettelijke confrontatie tussen traditionele en moderne trends de basis legde voor een levenslange en buitengewoon productieve bezigheid met het cantategenre. Daarnaast tonen de twee cantates ook de opmerkelijke expressieve diepgang van de muzikale taal van de jonge Bach en zijn beheersing van het vertalen van woorden en zinnen in muziek.
Die beiden Kantaten dieser CD sind Werke des jungen Bach aus seiner Zeit als Organist in Arnstadt (1703-07), Mühlhausen (1707-08) und Weimar (ab 1708), als er noch nicht in erster Linie für Vokalmusik verantwortlich war. Inhalt: 'Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit' (Actus tragicus) BWV 106 & 'Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis' BWV 21


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
Gottes Zeit is die allerbeste Zeit (Actus Tragicus) BWV 106: Sonatina
Gottes Zeit is die allerbeste Zeit (Actus Tragicus) BWV 106: Chorus: “gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit” Arioso: (tenor): “Ach Herr, lehre uns bedenken” Arioso (Bass): “Bestelle dein Haus: denn du wirst sterben”
Gottes Zeit is die allerbeste Zeit (Actus Tragicus) BWV 106: Aria (Alto)
Gottes Zeit is die allerbeste Zeit (Actus Tragicus) BWV 106: Chorus: “Glorie, Lob, Ehr und Herrlichkeit”
Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis BWV 21: Sinfonia
Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis BWV 21: Chorus: “Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis”
Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis BWV 21: Aria (soprano): “Seufzer, Tränen, Kummer, Not”
Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis BWV 21: Recitative (soprano): “Wie hast du dich, mein Gott”
Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis BWV 21: Aria (soprano): “Bäche von gesalznen Zähren”
Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis BWV 21: Chorus: “Was betrübst du dich, meine Seele”
Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis BWV 21: Recitative (soprano, Basso): “Ach Jesu, meine Ruh”
Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis BWV 21: Duet (soprano, Basso): “Komm, mein Jesu”
Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis BWV 21: Chorus: “Sei nun wieder zufrieden”
Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis BWV 21: Aria (soprano): ”Erfreue dich, Seele”
Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis BWV 21: Chorus: “Das Lamm, das erwürget ist”
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Often bought together with..

La Damnation de Faust
Bernard Haitink & Radio Filharmonisch Orkest & Groot Omroepkoor
Town Council Election Cantatas
Ton Koopman / Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir
Whitsun Cantatas
Ton Koopman / Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir
Funeral Cantatas
Ton Koopman / Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir
Tango Romances
Devich Trio

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