​Musical Musings~ Reflections on Sunday’s Music

March 15, 2015
  1. Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring-A Classical Masterwork
This chorale is the last movement of J.S. Bach's 32nd cantata (BWV 147) Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben. ("Heart, Mouth, Deed, Life") Bach regularly composed cantatas for his congregation that would correspond with the message preached for the day. Since the service began at 7:00AM and often ended at 12:00 PM, there was ample time to present the cantata. Most people identify this work by its beginning countermelody stated in triplets, however it is the chorale that was based on the gospel of the day that is the principal theme. Today, this will be sung by our Sanctuary Choir and includes long notes in the soprano underscored by contrasting, contrapuntal in the other voices. This piece highlights Bach's mastery of extending the cadence by often using the seventh scale degree and mediants to add interest to an infectious, lyrical theme. Additionally, this work relates to the story of Esther:  it is derived from a cantata about how we respond to God with our hearts, mouths, deeds and lives, something that Queen Esther certainly practiced.

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