Henrike Lähnemann to introduce Oxford Bach Easter Festival

The Oxford Bach Soloists, under Tom Hammond-Davies, have embarked on an ambitious undertaking: to stream a four day programme of Johann Sebastian Bach’s repertoire for the Easter; starting on Good Friday with the St John’s Passion, continuing with ‘Christ lag in Todesbanden’ on Holy Saturday and the Easter Oratorio on Easter Sunday, until finally ‘Der Himmel lacht, die Erde jubilieret’ on Easter Monday.

Henrike Lähnemann was asked to provide a musico-theological introduction for Holy Saturday, analyzing the medieval roots of Luther’s chorale ‘Christ lag in Todesbanden’ set by J S Bach in BWV 4; the Christ Church lay clerks under Steven Grahl provided as musical, interludes earlier settings from the Latin Sequence ‘Victimae paschali laudes’ to Johann Hermann Schein’s motet. This was a follow-up from the long-standing cooperation in the context of the Reformation quincentenary, which saw Henrike Lähnemann take the Oxford Bach Soloists on a tour of Northern Germany, performing the same musical journey from medieval chant to Baroque cantatas in the setting of Kloster Mariensee, Kloster Lüne and the Michaeliskirche in Lüneburg where Bach had been chorister. The “Gesprächskonzerte” were filmed by Alex Lloyd and feature on the “Singing the Reformation” website of the Taylorian.

Henrike Lähnemann writes: “It was a special feeling to be up on the pulpit in Christ Church, exploring the history behind the text and tune in conversation with the singers. The sheer joy of being in a church space again (and such a magnificent one), combined with the wonderful and not well-enough known repertoire such as Praetorius and Schein on which Bach’s own music builds, made this a truly memorable. I am very much looking forward to seeing how this whole recording turns out during the Easter weekend!”

Book for the cantata performance on Saturday, 3 April, 3pm.

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