In 1705, a promising young musician spent days walking the 250 miles (400 km) from central Germany all the way to Lübeck in the north, just for the chance to meet and learn from the renowned organist and composer Dietrich Buxtehude. On arrival, the talented 20-year-old extended his stay for four months, participating possibly in the storied Abendmusiken (“evening concerts” of sacred and instrumental music) that would profoundly impact his own compositions. His name was Johann Sebastian Bach, and before he passed into music legend, he revered and studied Buxtehude, the most famous organist of his day.
Journey back in time with the Ensemble Masques and the Vox Luminis choir for a sumptuous banquet of Buxtehude’s extraordinary music, full of innovation (the Sonata in A Minor!), drama, color, and texture (BuxWV 32). Amid extravagant touches worthy of Hieronymus Bosch, you’ll find the almost unearthly beauty of Befiehl dem Engel, daß er komm’ (Command The Angels, That They Come) and the hypnotic Jesu, meines Lebens Leben (Christ, Life of My Life), a moment of profound religious and human introspection that intensifies in crescendo for no less than five minutes.
St. Augustine Church, Antwerp
At the Royal Chapel of the Palace of Versailles