Recitative and Chorale (“Wie schwerlich läßt sich Fleisch und Blut”)
Aria (“Empfind ich Höllenangst und Pein”)
Recitative (“Es mag mir Leib und Geist verschmachten”)
Aria Duetto (“Wenn Sorgen auf mich dringen”)
Chorale (“Erhalt mein Herz im Glauben rein”)
INTERMISSION 15 mins
Organ Concerto in D minor (from Cantata BWV35) arr. Masaaki Suzuki
Cantata “Alles nur nach Gottes Willen”, BWV72
Chorus (“Alles nur nach Gottes Willen”)
Recitative and Arioso (“O selger Christ, der allzeit seinen Willen”)
Recitative (“So glaube nun”)
Aria (“Mein Jesus will es tun, er will dein Kreuz versüßen”)
Chorale (“Was mein Gott will, das g'scheh allzeit”)
The Ong Teng Cheong Professorship in Music is an endowment set up to honour Singapore’s late President and avid contributor to the arts and music in Singapore, Mr Ong Teng Cheong (1936-2002). The income generated from the endowment fund, contributed by the Singapore Totalisator Board and the Lee Foundation, is used to engage eminent musicians to teach at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music. The Professorship was launched on 2 October 2002 by the late President S R Nathan.
MASAAKI SUZUKI, Ong Teng Cheong Professor in Music 2016/2017conductor / organ Since founding Bach Collegium Japan in 1990, Masaaki Suzuki has established himself as a leading authority on the works of Bach. He has remained their Music Director ever since, taking them regularly to major venues and festivals in Europe and the USA and building up an outstanding reputation for the expressive refinement and truth of his performances.
In addition to working with renowned period ensembles, such as Collegium Vocale Gent and Philharmonia Baroque, he is invited to conduct repertoire as diverse as Britten, Beethoven, Fauré, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Mozart and Stravinsky, with orchestras such as the Baltimore Symphony, Danish National Radio Symphony, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, New York Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, amongst others. This season sees Suzuki debut with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment on a European tour.
Suzuki’s impressive discography on the BIS label, featuring all Bach’s major choral works as well as complete works for harpsichord, has brought him many critical plaudits – the Times has written: “it would take an iron bar not to be moved by his crispness, sobriety and spiritual vigour”. 2014 marked the triumphant conclusion of Bach Collegium Japan’s epic recording of the complete Church Cantatas, initiated in 1995 and comprising fifty-five volumes. This major achievement has been recognised with a 2014 ECHO Klassick ‘Editorial Achievement of the Year’ award. In 2010, Suzuki and his ensemble were awarded both a German Record Critics’ Award (Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik) and a Diapason d’Or de l’Année for their recording of the Bach motets, which was also honoured in 2011 with a BBC Music Magazine Award. The ensemble has now embarked upon extending their repertoire with recent releases of Mozart’s Requiem and Mass in C minor; Suzuki recently released a disc of works by Stravinsky with the Tapiola Sinfonietta.
Recent highlights with Bach Collegium Japan include a visit to North America performing in cities such as Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, as well as a European tour including a weekend residency at the Barbican Centre, London, return visits to the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris, and debut appearances at Dublin’s National Concert Hall, the Vienna Konzerthaus and the Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg.
Masaaki Suzuki combines his conducting career with his work as organist and harpsichordist. Born in Kobe, he graduated from the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music with a degree in composition and organ performance, and went on to study harpsichord and organ at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam under Ton Koopman and Piet Kee. Founder and Professor Emeritus of the early music department at the Tokyo University of the Arts, he was on the choral conducting faculty at the Yale School of Music and Yale Institute of Sacred Music from 2009 until 2013, where he remains affiliated as the principal guest conductor of Yale Schola Cantorum. Regularly collaborating with Juilliard Historical Performance, this season sees them on a tour of New Zealand.
In 2012 Suzuki was awarded with the Leipzig Bach Medal and in 2013 the Royal Academy of Music Bach Prize. In April 2001, he was decorated with ‘Das Verdienstkreuz am Bande des Verdienstordens der Bundesrepublik’ from Germany.
For information on Bach Collegium Japan, please visit: bachcollegiumjapan.org
RYO TERAKADO concertmaster
Born 1961 in Santa-Curz, Bolivia, Ryo Terakado started playing the violin at age 4 after he returned to Japan. He won the 2nd prize in the all Japan Youth Musical Competition when he was 14 years old. He studied violin, chamber music and conducting at the Toho Gakuen School of Music. After graduating, he was immediately invited as concertmaster of The Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, where he served for 2 years.
His interest in baroque music already started before: When he was 19, he started to play baroque violin by himself. Some years later, he founded a baroque ensemble “Concert Spirituel”, together with Masahiro Arita (Flute), who influenced him greatly, and Hidemi Suzuki (cello). In 1985, he came to the Netherlands to study the baroque violin at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague under the guidance of Sigiswald Kuijken.In 1989, he received a soloist diploma.
Since 1987 he has played with many Baroque orchestras in Europe and Japan as a concertmaster, such as Les Arts Florissants (William Christie), La Chapelle Royale (Philippe Herrewege), Collegium Vocale Gent (Philippe Herrewege), Tokyo Bach Mozart Orchestra (Masahiro Arita), etc. He was particularly known as the concertmaster of La Petite Bande (Sigiswald Kuijken) and Bach Collegium (Masaaki Suzuki) Japan. With the above-mentioned groups, he toured all over the world as a soloist in major halls such as Carnegie Hall.
His conducting debut was at the Hokutopia International Music Festival in Tokyo. Since then, he has conducted operas by Monteverdi, Purcell, Rameau, Gluck, Haydn and W.A. Mozart, including Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Rameau’s Pigmarion, and Rebel’s Les Elemens, amongst others.
Currently he teaches at The Hague Royal Conservatory and as a specially appointed professor at the Toho Gakuen Music School in Japan.
MASAMITSU SAN’NOMIYA oboe
A graduate of the Musashino College of Music, Masamitsu started his professional career while he was in school. In 1996, he founded a chamber ensemble, “La Fontaine”, and the ensemble won the first prize at the International Competition for Early Music YAMANASHI and the second prize at the International Competition Musica Antiqua Bruges in 2000.
In 1996, Masamitsu joined Bach Collegium Japan (BCJ), founded by Masaaki Suzuki and became the principal oboe player of the BCJ.
Masamitsu features as a soloist on many CD recordings. Masamitsu’s discography includes his first solo album CD, “Virtuoso Oboe Music” (2003), “Le Hautbois Romantique a Paris” (2014) and J. S. Bach’s sacred cantata series with BCJ (1995-2013).
Masamitsu is active in music education and is currently a lecturer at the early music department of the Tokyo University of the Arts.
ZHANG YUCHEN (B.Mus1) violin
Born in April 1998, Zhang Yuchen began studying the violin at the age of 5. He was awarded the Gold medal in the 11th and 12th Children’s Violin Competition in Guangdong Province, and the Gold award at the National Solo Violin Show in Beijing. In 2010, he entered the Middle School Affiliated to Shanghai Conservatory of Music and studied with Mrs. Qinglin Zhu, Prof. Shisheng Zheng and Mr. Yang Song.
During his studies at the Middle School, he participated in many performances and held solo concerts. He also performed as a soloist with the Shanghai Chamber Orchestra at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center.
As a member of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music Junior High School Symphony Orchestra, he was invited to attend the Festival Internacional de Música y Danza de Granada in Spain in July 2015. He has also been selected to participate in masterclasses by violin virtuosi Qian Zhou, Hu Kun, Ning Feng, Andres Cardenes, and Midori.
In 2016, he was admitted to the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore, under the tutelage of Prof. Qian Zhou.
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)
Violin Concerto in A minor, BWV1041
Having started with the cantatas, the Bach-Gesellschaft never got any further with its issuing and cataloguing of all Bach’s works; indeed, it stopped at the number 190. It was left to Wolfgang Schmeider to continue and complete the work, beginning his Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis in the 1930s but not completing in until 1950 (two Second World War bombing raids of Frankfurt and Leipzig managing to destroy the only two manuscripts and so forcing a complete re-start on this gargantuan project). Having accepted the Bach-Gesellschaft numbering for the cantatas, Schmeider continued the idea of genre - rather than chronological - grouping in his BWV catalogue. This system may make for easy identification of works within a single genre, but does not take into account the fact that scholarship may question the originality or authenticity of some works and discover hitherto unknown ones which cannot then be properly integrated into the catalogue. With his revision in the 1970s, Schmeider introduced a complicated system of arrow and multiple numbers in an attempt to overcome this. Nowhere is the shortcomings of Schmeider’s numbering system more clearly revealed than in the provision for concertos.
In 1950 Schmeider identified 25 extant concertos by Bach and allocated them the numbers BWV1041-1065. Bach certainly wrote many more than that and with Bach’s habit of re-working earlier music to suit changing performing situations, it becomes increasingly difficult to work out just how many true concertos Bach did write, or, indeed, when he originally wrote them. The first concerto in the catalogue is for solo violin, is in A minor and Schmeider believed it to have been written in 1720 whilst Bach was Kapellmeister in the service of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen. Certainly Schmeider had logic on his side, for it was at Cöthen that Bach, for the only time in his career, concentrated not on sacred music but on secular instrumental music. From this period date many of the other concertos including most of the so-called “Brandenburgs”. But since the earliest evidence of the A minor Violin Concerto is found in Leipzig, where Bach also devoted considerable efforts in the field of instrumental music, it seems likely that this concerto dates from around 1730. (To add another layer of confusion, Bach scholar John Butt has suggested that the concerto was actually written in 1736 when Bach took a two-year sabbatical from Leipzig to undertake duties at Dresden.)
Those Leipzig sources for the A minor Violin Concerto, one of Bach’s two surviving concertos for solo violin (there is a third for two violins), show it to be the same work as a Concerto in G minor for harpsichord (which Schmeider catalogued separately as BWV1058). In neither work is there any indication from Bach of a tempo for the opening movement, but it is clearly lively in character. The upward leap of a fourth at the beginning recurs throughout, giving the movement its rhythmic energy and forward impulse. Against vigorous orchestral accompaniment, the solo violin enters in a more lyric vein, and throughout the movement soloist and orchestra exchange and mutually extend this material.
For the central movement the orchestra confines itself to a bare ostinato accompaniment while the violin describes an arching and ornate cantilena, unfolding in long, lyric lines high above the orchestra. This movement is the expressive centre of the concerto, and — despite the C-major tonality — its tone is dark and intense.
The 9/8 metre of the final movement gives it the feel of a Gigue. After a spirited orchestral introduction, the solo violin comes sailing into the orchestral texture. Bach’s evolution of the opening material is remarkable. As the orchestra hurtles brusquely along far below it, the violin seems to fly high, transforming this simple material into music of grace and beauty before rejoining the orchestra as the concerto drives to its vigorous close.
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)
Cantata No.3: “Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid”, BWV3
The numbering system of Bach cantatas, retained by Wolfgang Schmeider in his universally accepted Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis which identifies every Bach work with a unique BWV number, actually dates back to 1850. In that year the Leipzig publishers, Breitkopf und Härtel, decided to mark the centenary of Bach’s death by creating the Bach-Gesellschaft in which every work by Bach would be published in a scholarly edition. They began with the choral works, but made no attempt to follow any other coherent sequence in their numbering other than to publish them in the order in which various editors had them ready to send to the type-setters. Thus their first volume, appearing in December 1851, comprised 10 cantatas edited by Moritz Hauptmann and given the numbers 1-10. This numbering system is otherwise totally random, and certainly makes no attempt to present the cantatas in any chronological, ecclesiastical or tonal sequence.
So it is that the third of the cantatas Hauptmann included in his first Bach-Gesellschaft edition was originally composed about mid-way through Bach’s cantata-writing career, and was intended for the Second Sunday of Epiphany, which is the seventh Sunday in the ecclesiastical year. In 1725 that Sunday fell on 14th January, and it was on that day, in either St Thomas’s or St Nicholas’s Church Leipzig, that the Cantata was first heard. It was the fourth new cantata the Leipzig musicians had been obliged to perform since the beginning of the year for, in addition to the preceding Sunday at which Cantata No.124 was first sung, there had been two ecclesiastical feast days each with their newly composed cantata; the Circumcision of Christ (New Year’s Day) for which Bach wrote his Cantata no.41, and the Feast of the Epiphany (or “Three Kings”) on 6th January (Cantata No.123). Four new works in two weeks is a tall order in anyone’s books, and we can only guess at the quality of music-making in that ice-cold church on that particularly cold January Sunday. In our comfortable concert hall, with weeks of preparation and few other musical distractions, today’s performance will most certainly have qualities missing from the original, not least in matters of tuning and accuracy, although it is Maestro Suzuki’s aim to present the work in a manner as close as possible to that which Bach would have wished it to be heard (although it would have certainly been a vain wish).
As with many of Bach’s cantatas, the text is drawn from an earlier hymn loosely connected with either the Biblical readings or the spiritual theme of the day as prescribed by the Lutheran Church. In this instance much of the text is derived from the 18-verse hymn written in 1587 by Martin Moller (1547-1606) and itself based on the ancient Latin hymn “Jesus dulcis memoriae”. Bach seems to have used these texts to illustrate the notion of the trials and tribulations facing Christians as they pursue their faith, and he arranged it into six sections framed by a chorale using a melody composed around 1455 and more usually associated with the chorale “Herr Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht”.
Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid
Begegnet mir zu dieser Zeit!
Der schmale Weg ist trübsalvoll,
Den ich zum Himmel wandern soll.
Ah God, how many a heartache
Confronts me at this time!
The narrow path is full of sorrow
along which I must travel to heaven.
Recitative and Chorale
Wie schwerlich lässt sich Fleisch und Blut
How hard it is for flesh and blood -
So nur nach Irdischem und Eitlem trachtet
Und weder Gott noch Himmel achtet,
(it strives only after earthly goods and vain things
and respects neither God nor heaven)
Zwingen zu dem ewigen Gut!
- To be compelled to eternal good!
Da du, o Jesu, nun mein alles bist,
Und doch mein Fleisch so widerspenstig ist.
Since you, O Jesus, is everything to me,
and yet my flesh is so unruly
Wo soll ich mich denn wenden hin?
Where shall I seek for refuge?
Das Fleisch ist schwach, doch will der Geist;
So hilf du mir, der du mein Herze weißt.
(The flesh is weak, but the spirit is willing;
and also calms the fear of death, the terror of the grave.
Though need and necessity may occur everywhere at once
my Jesus will be my treasure and riches.
Duet (Soprano and Alto)
Wenn Sorgen auf mich dringen,
Will ich in Freudigkeit
Zu meinem Jesu singen.
Mein Kreuz hilft Jesus tragen,
Drum will ich gläubig sagen:
Es dient zum besten allezeit.
When cares press upon me,
I want in joy
to sing to my Jesus.
Jesus helps to bear my cross,
therefore I want to say in faith:
it is always for the best.
Erhalt mein Herz im Glauben rein,
So leb und sterb ich dir allein.
Jesu, mein Trost, hör mein Begier,
O mein Heiland, wär ich bei dir.
Keep my heart pure in faith
so I may live and die for you alone.
Jesus, my comfort, hear my desire,
O my Saviour, I wish that I were with you
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750) Organ Concerto in D minor (from Cantata BWV35) arr. Masaaki Suzuki
Notably absent from the list of concertos in any catalogue of Bach’s works are any for organ with orchestra. This is hardly surprising since this type of organ concerto was effectively invented by his contemporary, Handel, as a theatrical entertainment in London. However, Bach’s catalogue includes five transcriptions for solo organ of concertos by other composers (listed as BWV592-597), and a keyboard concerto (BWV1059), which originates from a Sinfonia for organ and orchestra found in Cantata No.35. Inspired by that work, Masaaki Suzuki today plays a concerto for small organ and orchestra derived from material found in Cantata No.35.
Cantata No.35 was first heard in Leipzig on 8th September 1726 (the 12th Sunday after Trinity), was written for just a single voice, and features – as do several other Bach cantatas from around this time - an obbligato part for organ. We can surmise that issues with the Leipzig musicians, faced with an almost insurmountable mountain of new works to learn on a weekly basis, prompted Bach to take more of the performing focus on himself. Additionally Cantata no.35 was also performed at one of the annual Leipzig trade fairs where Bach was keen to display not just his own personal virtuosity to the visiting delegates, but also the organ of the town’s St Nicholas Church which was the largest organ in the region.
The fast outer movements of the Concerto are taken directly from the two solo sinfonias in the original Cantata, indicative of the fact that the Cantata was originally played in two sections, one before and the other immediately after the sermon. The slow central movement is a re-working of the first aria from the Cantata; although it has been suggested that this itself derives from a lost oboe concerto Bach wrote before settling in Leipzig.
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750) Cantata No.72: “Alles nur nach Gottes Willen”, BWV72
For the third Sunday of Epiphany, Bach composed a total of four different cantatas in, respectively, 1724 (Cantata 73), 1725 (Cantata 111), 1726 (Cantata 72) and 1729 (Cantata 156). Today we hear the cantata he wrote for the Sunday service in Leipzig on 27th January 1726.
As with the cantata we heard at the start of this concert, this was not the first of the new works the Leipzig musicians had been faced with that year, and in addition to four new cantatas from Bach, they had also performed a new one written by Telemann for the Feast of the Epiphany. This extreme burst of cantata composing marked Bach’s first few years in Leipzig when, between 1723 and 1727, he produced three complete cycles of cantatas for the church’s year in an effort both to impress his new employers and to revitalise the musical life of the city following a period during which it had become somewhat moribund. Altogether he directed the first performances of around 180 new cantatas, the vast majority of which he had composed himself. What pressures this put on the Leipzig musicians is evident from contemporary reports of complaints and arguments between them and Bach as well as several official reprimands issued against Bach himself.
For Cantata No.72 Bach used a text by a librettist with whom he had developed a successful partnership back in his Weimar days. Salomo Franck (1659-1725) had been a court poet in Weimar at the time Bach was serving there as court organist and Konzertmeister. Franck wrote the texts for just about all of the cantatas Bach had composed at Weimar, and after his move to Leipzig in 1723 Bach continued to draw on Franck’s texts; the use of one for Cantata 72 possibly prompted by the poet’s death a short time earlier. However it has occasionally been suggested that since Franck’s original text was published back in 1715, Bach may have composed his cantata in Weimar, although it was never performed then nor is there any evidence to suggest it belongs to an earlier period in Bach’s career.
Having heard a Bach concerto earlier in the concert, and a solo concerto-like work derived from one of the cantatas, this Cantata opens with a distinctly concerto-like orchestra ritornello into which the voices intrude only after it has run its course. The Biblical readings for the Third Sunday in Epiphany have as their theme the importance of showing charity towards one’s enemies and those whose company we would usually avoid. As one of Bach’s first biographers, Philipp Spitta, put it, the text “praises a blessed state of satisfaction that arises from a feeling that one is everywhere supported by the kind had of God”.
Programme notes by Marc Rochester.
Alles nur nach Gottes Willen,
So bei Lust als Traurigkeit,
So bei gut als böser Zeit.
Gottes Wille soll mich stillen
Bei Gewölk und Sonnenschein.
Alles nur nach Gottes Willen!
Dies soll meine Losung sein.
Everything according to God's will,
both in pleasure and sorrow,
both in good and evil times.
God's will should calm me
in clouds and sunshine.
Everything according to God's will!
This should be my watchword.
Recitative and Arioso (Alto)
O selger Christ, der allzeit seinen Willen
In Gottes Willen senkt, es gehe wie es gehe,
Bei Wohl und Wehe.
Herr, so du willt, so muss sich alles fügen!
Herr, so du willt, so kannst du mich vergnügen!
Herr, so du willt, verschwindet meine Pein!
Herr, so du willt, werd ich gesund und rein!
Herr, so du willt, wird Traurigkeit zur Freude!
Herr, so du willt, und ich auf Dornen Weide!
Herr, so du willt, werd ich einst selig sein!
Herr, so du willt, - lass mich dies Wort im Glauben fassen
Und meine Seele stillen! -
Herr, so du willt, so sterb ich nicht,
Ob Leib und Leben mich verlassen,
Wenn mir dein Geist dies Wort ins Herze spricht!
O blessed is the Christian, who at all times buries his will
The Conservatory students are playing on string instruments loaned to them by the late Mr Rin Kei Mei and Mrs Rin. For their generosity, the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory wishes to express its deep appreciation.