Richard Burdick, horn performs
J. S. Bach’s Easter Oratorio, BWV 249
This is a multi track recording, All tracks performed by Richard Burdick on his Double French horn made by Dietmar Dürk.
Mr. Burdick read from the original score while recording. Each part from the flute to the basso continuo was played at written pitch, reading the score as if it were written for F horn. The range of this composition is from Pedal C to high e (for horn in F) with countless notes above high C . Recorded at A = 440 hertz.
The original score was written for 2 flutes, 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 oboes, 2 violins, viola, four soloists (Soprano, Alto, Tenor & Bass) Chorus, bassoon & continuo.
Johann Sebastian Bach first composed this work in 1725. The four solo vocal parts were assigned to principal characters from the Gospel: Mary the mother of James, Mary Magdalene, and the apostles Peter and John. In the early 1730's, Bach revised the score of the sacred version, titled it Oratorio and gave us this incredible composition which premiered on Easter Sunday in 1735.
The work begins with a large scale Celebration (1) and a contemplative Adagio (2).
3. Then wakes us up: “Come, hasten and hurry, ye fleet-footed paces, Make haste for the grotto which Jesus doth veil! Laughter and pleasure, Attend ye our hearts now, For he who saves us is raised up.”
4. In the first recitative, Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of Jesus), Peter and John bemoan their loss.
5. Jesus's mother continues her expression of loss in her quietly beautiful aria.
6. In the next recitative, Peter , John and Mary Magdalene find the stone moved aside and the sepulchre, leading Mary Magdalene to understand what has happened.
7. This is one of the highest points of Bach's inspiration: Peter's aria Sanfte soll mein Todeskummer (Softly now my fear of death). Sometimes called the "slumber-aria", this has been described as “one of the most gloriously beautiful pieces of music ever written. A gentle and evocative melody woven through with delicate tendrils of accompaniment.” This celebrates the Christian hope of triumph over death, Here, the music touchingly portrays the believer's assurance that the pain of death is now merely a sleep with glorious reawakening.
8. The next recitative sees the two Mary's sighing in thirds and a short and amazing fugue takes about half a minute. A contrast that makes the entire work even more amazing.
9. Mary Magdalene asks where Jesus is in her more urgent, upbeat aria.
10. John affirms Jesus's resurrection in the final recitative.
11. Final chorus ends the oratorio with a glorious song of praise recalling the start of the oratorio in a vigorous affirmation of Christian faith.