Charpentier: Missa assumpta est Maria
J.S. Bach: Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit
J. S. Bach: Actus Tragicus, BWV 106
Handel: Chandos Anthem No. 8: O come, let us sing unto the Lord!
Giacomo Carissimi’s Jephte is an expressive and poignant oratorio which relates the consequences of Jephte’s wartime bargain with God leading to the sacrifice of his only daughter. Considered Carissimi’s finest work in the oratorio form, Jephte or Historia di Jephte is an important example of the mid-seventeenth-century form composed around 1650 (probably 1648). Based on the story of Jephtha in the Old Testament Book of Judges, the work follows what is considered the classic early baroque oratorio form, with a Biblical text related by the chorus and featuring solos from within the chorus.
French composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier studied with Carissimi in Rome. His harmonically rich and introspective Missa assumpta est Maria was first performed at the Sainte Chapelle in Paris, probably during the feast of the Assumption in 1699. This piece is the last of Charpentier’s many mass settings and is considered his greatest work in the genre.
Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit (God’s time is the very best time), also known as Actus Tragicus, is a sacred cantata composed by Johann Sebastian Bach and intended for a funeral. Although Bach’s manuscript is lost, the work is agreed to be one of the earliest Bach cantatas, probably composed during the year he spent in Mühlhausen, Germany in 1707and 1708, when he was the organist of the St. Blasius Church. Various funerals known to have taken place at this time have been proposed as the occasion for the composition, for example that of Adolf Strecker, former mayor of Mühlhausen, in 1708, or that of an uncle of Bach’s who died in Erfurt in 1707. There are two distinct parts to the cantata: the view of the Old Testament on death shown in the first part is confronted by the second part, representing the view of the New Testament; the separation of the old from the new determines the symmetrical structure of the cantata.
In 1717 George Frideric Handel entered the employ of James Brydges, the Earl of Carnarvon (who in April 1719 became the first Duke of Chandos), as composer-in-residence on the north side of London. Chandos Anthem No. 8: O come, let us sing unto the Lord!, written that year, is one of eleven Chandos anthems he composed. Throughout his career, Handel would have occasion to compose other anthems and similar works for public ceremonies as well as private ones within the royal household.
Boston Baroque Website
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