All of Bach: a project by the Netherlands Bach Society

Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats

BWV 42 performed by the Nederlands Bach Society conducted by Jos van Veldhoven
Walloon Church, Amsterdam

"It was a modern idea in those days to differentiate in the continuo group through the instrumentation. We try to look for that in our performance of this cantata."

Top heavy

Bach at his best for Easter.

The first part of this cantata that conductor Jos van Veldhoven ever heard was the instrumental sinfonia – and it has stuck in his mind ever since. “It’s so cheerful, and Bach doesn’t do that very often. Here, he clearly wants to prolong the festivities of Easter for a while”.

This sinfonia may once have been the first part of a concerto for two oboes, bassoon and orchestra. The long alto aria, ‘Wo Zwei und Drei versammlet sind’, might then have been the slow movement. Here, too, the oboes and bassoon have a prominent role, which makes the cantata almost top heavy.
But there is plenty in store in the rest as well. In ‘Verzage nicht’, the bass line is divided in two, so that besides the duet for soprano and tenor, a duet is also created for bassoon, cello and harpsichord on the one hand, and organ and double bass on the other. And in the triumphant closing aria, there are two solo violins.

four soloists
We are performing this cantata with just four singers. They all have solos, and the piece closes with a final chorale sung altogether. In some performances, extra singers join in with a four-part finale like this, creating a small choir. We do not know what Bach himself did, as he gives no indication of how many singers he wanted to use.
In this performance, we have opted for four soloists. This makes the lines more expressive and you hear more detail. “For a two or three-part section in Bach’s music, nobody would think of using more voices for each part. But if there are four parts, then it suddenly has to become a choir. I think the decision to use just four singers is well justified for a cantata like this, which does not involve many instruments”, says artistic director and conductor Jos van Veldhoven.

location and organ
This recording was made in the Walloon Church in the heart of Amsterdam. Not only does the church have good acoustics, but it is also a place of pilgrimage for organists due to its Müller organ from 1739.
Organist Leo van Doeselaar: “This is one of the finest small Baroque organs in the Netherlands. Gustav Leonhardt was the organist at the Walloon Church from 1959 to 1982. He had the organ restored to its original state as early as the 1960’s. It’s a real pioneer’s organ”. For this performance, we are actually using this ‘great’ organ. A box organ is an anachronism, which was never used in Bach’s day.
“In Bach’s church music, the great church organ always played the continuo parts. In principle, it had the same soft registration as a box organ, but the much wider scaled pipes of the church organ form a more important component of the timbre of a Baroque ensemble. For chorales and choirs of the Baroque period, stronger registers were used and the bass line was played on the pedal, with a 16-foot double-bass register. The fact that it was never done like this before is actually one of the unintentional falsifications of the historical sound approach”, says organist Leo van Doeselaar.


BWV
42

Title
Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats

Genre
cantate

Year
1725

City
Leipzig

Lyricist
unknown

Occasion
Quasimodogeniti (first Sunday after Easter)

First performance
8 April 1725

Cast & Crew

Release date 21 April 2017
Recording date 22 October 2016
Location Walloon Church, Amsterdam
conductor Jos van Veldhoven
soprano Miriam Feuersinger
alto Alex Potter
tenor Thomas Hobbs
bass Stephan MacLeod
violin 1 Shunske Sato, Pieter Affourtit, Anneke van Haaften, Hanneke Wierenga
violin 2 Sayuri Yamagata, Paulien Kostense, Annelies van der Vegt
viola Staas Swierstra, Jan Willem Vis
cello Lucia Swarts, Richte van der Meer
Double bass Robert Franenberg
oboe Martin Stadler, Peter Frankenberg
bassoon Benny Aghassi
organ Leo van Doeselaar
harpsichord Siebe Henstra
Director Bas Wielenga
assistant director Ferenc Soetman
Music recording Guido Tichelman, Bastiaan Kuijt, Pim van der Lee
Music edit and mix Guido Tichelman
Camera Bart ten Hakel, Merijn Vrieling, Ivo Palmen, Chris Reichgelt
Camera stagiair Klazina Westra
Lights Zen Bloot
Lighting assistant Patrick Galvin, Henry Rodgers
Video engineer Vincent Nugteren
Set technique Justin Mutsaers
Data handling Jesper Blok
Projectmanager NEP Jochem Timmerman
project preparation NEP Peter Ribbens
Producer concert Imke Deters
producer film Jessie Verbrugh
Interview Gijs Besseling

Vocal Texts

Original

1. Sinfonia


2. Rezitativ (Tenor)

Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats,
da die Jünger versammlet
und die Türen verschlossen waren
aus Furcht für den Jüden,
kam Jesus und trat mitten ein.

3. Arie (Alt)

Wo zwei und drei versammlet sind
in Jesu teurem Namen,
da stellt sich Jesus mitten ein
und spricht darzu das Amen.
Denn was aus Lieb und Not geschicht,
das bricht des Höchsten Ordnung nicht.

4. Duett (Sopran, Tenor)

Verzage nicht, o Häuflein klein,
obschon die Feinde willens sein
dich gänzlich zu verstören,
und suchen deinen Untergang,
davon dir wird recht angst und bang:
es wird nicht lange währen.

5. Rezitativ (Bass)

Man kann hiervon
ein schön Exempel sehen
an dem, was zu Jerusalem geschehen;
denn da die Jünger
sich versammlet hatten
im finstern Schatten
aus Furcht für denen Jüden,
so trat mein Heiland mitten ein,
zum Zeugnis, dass er
seiner Kirchen Schutz will sein.
Drum lasst die Feinde wüten!

6. Arie (Bass)

Jesus ist ein Schild der Seinen,
wenn sie die Verfolgung trifft.
Ihnen muss die Sonne scheinen
mit der güldnen Überschrift:
Jesus ist ein Schild der Seinen,
wenn sie die Verfolgung trifft.

7. Choral

Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich,
Herr Gott, zu unsern Zeiten.
Es ist doch ja kein andrer nicht,
der für uns könnte streiten,
Denn du, uns’r Gott, alleine.

Gib unserm Fürsten und all'r Obrigkeit
Fried und gut Regiment,
dass wir unter ihnen
Ein geruhig und stilles Leben
führen mögen in aller
Gottseligkeit und Ehrbarkeit.
Amen.



Translation

1. Sinfonia


2. Recitative

Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled
for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst.

3. Aria

Where two or three are gathered together
in the precious name of Jesus,
Jesus comes into their midst
and utters His Amen.
For that which occurs out of love or need,
does not contravene the Highest’s order.

4. Duet

Do not despair, O little flock,
though the foe is disposed
to destroy you utterly
and seeks to bring you down,
that you might know great fear and dread:
it shall not last for long.

5. Recitative

One can see here
a fine example
of what happened in Jerusalem;
for when the disciples
had assembled
in dark shadows,
because they feared the Jews,
my Saviour came into their midst
to prove that He
would protect His church.
Therefore, let the enemy rage!

6. Aria

Jesus shields His own people,
whenever persecution strikes them.
The sun must shine for them
with the golden superscription:
Jesus shields His own people,
whenever persecution strikes them.

7. Chorale

Graciously grant us peace,
Lord God, in our time;
for there is surely no other
who could fight for us,
than Thou alone, our God.

Give to our princes and to all authority
good government and peace,
that we under their rule
may lead a quiet and peaceful life
in all godliness and honesty.
Amen.




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