In 2017 at the Philharmonie de Paris, Raphaël Pichon and his ensemble Pygmalion presented Bach in Seven Parts, an unprecedented cycle of cantatas by the beloved Cantor of Leipzig. The third installment of the series "The Call" focuses on a divine command to "wake up!", words including in the text of cantatas BWV 70 and BWV 140. The musicians are joined by Bertrand Couderc, an artist described by Raphaël Pichon as "true magician of light."
While Bach's cantatas may be grounded in particular religious practices of 18th century Lutheran Germany, today the works are considered a vital part of our global musical heritage, treasured beyond the bounds of any particular culture or religion. The cycle Bach in Seven Parts presents selected cantatas in seven concerts, with each concert featuring one universal theme that sheds new light on Bach's music. The programs also highlight artists from outside of the musical world, with each concert featuring an extra-musical exploration of one of the composer's works.
Based in a humanist perspective, our approach does not erase the religious subject of these cantatas, but emphasizes above all Johann Sebastian Bach's message of humanity, hope, and light. – Raphaël Pichon