Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: Rediscovered cantatas

Renaissance after 300 years

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Dorothee Mields — Soprano

Gerhild Romberger — Alto

Georg Poplutz — Tenor

Klaus Mertens — Bass

Bachchor Mainz

Arpa festante München

Ralf Otto — Conductor

Program notes

The Bachchor Mainz and the Arpa festante München, conducted by Ralf Otto, pay a tribute to Wilhelm Friedemann Bach: for the first time they perform four of his cantatas during a concert recorded in St. Augustine's Church in Mainz.

On the occasion of the tricentenary of the birth of Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, the Bachchor Mainz and the Arpa festante München (a chamber orchestra specialized of the Baroque repertoire), accompanied by four soloists, premiere four great cantatas and a symphony composed by Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, an unknown composer who yet was regarded as one of the most talented sons of Jean-Sébastien Bach.

This "enfant terrible", who was a highly talented musician as a child, had a very interesting career as organist and composer despite he was in the shadow of his father. The "Bach of Halle", as he was nicknamed according to his appointment as Director of Music and organist in Halle's church, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach chose to lead an independant career and left his position in 1764, contrary to his contemporaries that were supported by powerful institutions or people. Despite the miserable life he had after this choice of career, he left us wonderful works. He has in particular greatly contributed to develop the genre of church cantata.

The musicians remarkably perform this premiere of four of the "spiritual cantatas" he composed around 1750. They are conducted by a great connoisseur of the repertoire, indeed Ralf Otto is known for having conducted works by forgotten composers of the Baroque era several times. This wonderful concert is accompanied by the ancient instruments of the Arpa festante, at the choir of St. Augustine's Church in Mainz with beautiful rococo decorations.

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