BACH "Angenehme Melodei"

Primarily during his time in Leipzig, Johann Sebastian Bach cultivated various relationships with private music lovers and art patrons. The prosperous trade and exhibition town provided an ideal environment for this, quite in contrast with the small residential cities of Weimar and Köthen where he had lived previously. However, the renowned Cantor at St. Thomas was also heavily reliant on influential patrons and champions, particularly against the backdrop of his disputes with Leipzig's city administration, for example.

These reconstructions bear witness to and illustrate the relationship between Bach and his social environment in Leipzig. The joyful works, scored for chamber ensembles, were first performed in this form in the 1730/40s. It is not known who precisely the pieces were written for but the lack of title suggests they were likely to have been wealthy citizens, who not only enjoyed cultivating music as a hobby, but also saw it as a way to represent and/or imitate the nobility. For Bach, these kinds of performance were also a way to generate further opportunities to perform and earn money in the expensive exhibition town and to expand his artistic field of activity beyond his duties as Cantor at St Thomas and university music director.

With the support of the Funk Foundation, the world’s first CD recording of the two homage cantatas Erwählte Pleißenstadt (O chosen Leipzig – BWV 216a) and O angenehme Melodei (O pleasing melody – BWV 210a) by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) was recorded in the legendary Jesus-Christus-Kirche in Berlin-Dahlem by the Deutsche Hofmusik ensemble led by Alexander Grychtolik.

Artists: Katja Stuber (soprano), Franz Vitzthum (alto), Daniel Johannsen (tenor)
Deutsche Hofmusik, Aleksandra and Alexander Grychtolik

You can listen to the recordings: the CD has already been recommended by the BBC.

There is also a making-of video on the CD project here.