Bach - Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott & Orchestral Suite No.4 - Le Concert Lorrain - Saarbrücken

Russell Gilmour, William Russell and Gareth Hoddinott travelled to Saarbrücken in Germany to perform with Le Concert Lorrain and the newly re-named BachChor Saarbrücken, with whom we have built up an excellent rapport over many years. The trumpet section was joined by timpanist Simon Stierle and it is always great to work with him. The performance took place at 6pm on Sunday 17th September 2017 in the Stiftskirche St. Arnual.

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We have performed frequently with this choir, performing Handel’s Messiah and numerous works by Bach:

Ascension Oratorio (BWV 11)
Concert Piece for Violin Solo und Orchestra BWV 1045
Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248)
Easter Oratorio (BWV 249)
Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott (BWV 80)
Gott, wie Dein Name, so ist auch dein Ruhm (BWV 171)
Magnificat in D Major (BWV 243)
Orchestral Suite No.4 in D Major (BWV 1069)
Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied (BWV 190)
Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten (BWV 59)

On this occasion we performed an all-Bach programme which began with Jesu, meine Freude (BWV 227) sung by the fantastic BachChor Saarbrücken with the Basso Continuo section of Le Concert Lorrain. Le Concert Lorrain then performed Bach’s Orchestral Suite No.4 in D Major (BWV 1069) before the culmination of choir, orchestra and soloists in the cantata Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott (BWV 80). BWV 80 features trumpet parts written by Wilhelm Friedemann Bach in the first (Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott) and fifth (Und wenn die Welt voll Teufel wär) movements.

Georg Grün directed the choir in each of the choruses and left the orchestra and soloists to perform as a chamber ensemble in the more intimate arias and recitatives, and also in the instrumental BWV 1069. The performance of BWV 1069 was very exciting, with interplay between the string, oboe and trumpet sections taking place over the solid foundation of basso continuo in the Overture. The oboe section of Magdalena Karolak, Georg Siebert and Anke Nevermann gave a memorable rendition of the second Bouree above the stunning bassoon feature played by Sanghee Lee. The Gavotte was stately, with glorious dynamic contrast. Minuets I and II are such beautiful movements and it was made all the more beautiful by the decision to play Minuet II with just one player per string part (first time) - a nice touch. The Rejouissance was joyful and exciting and it was brilliant to play these extraordinary trumpet parts with this orchestra.

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The soloists were Verena Gropper (Soprano), Annekatrin Laabs (Alto), Julius Pfeifer (Tenor) and Peter Kooij (Bass). The oboe da caccia obligato in the seventh movement Wie selig sind doch die, die Gott im Munde tragen was played excellently by Georg Siebert. The choir was wonderful throughout - BWV 80 is renowned for being one of the more demanding cantatas for any choir to sing.

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It was a pleasure to be back in Saarbrücken. While we were there we met one of Gareth's friends from New Zealand who now lives in Saarbrücken and we met some of his friends too. The people of Saarbrücken and the members of the BachChor are so friendly. We are indebted to Genevieve and Georg who so kindly transported us to and from Luxembourg airport.
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