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'Gottes Zeit ist die Allerbeste Zeit'
(God's Time is Best)
Relayed from the Guildhall School of Music
SYBIL EVERS (Soprano)
Dobis OWENS (Contralto)
Tom Purvis (Tenor)
KEITH FALKNER (Bass)
RUDOLPH DOLMETSCH and MILLICENT WHEATON (Viola da Gamba)
LESLIE WOODGATE (Organ) The WIRELESS CHORUS and The WIRELESS ORCHESTRA
(Flutes and Strings)
Conducted by STANFORD ROBINSON
COMPOSED, so far as we can tell, at the end of the great Bach's twentieth year, this was no doubt specially written for someone's funeral, though we do not know whose. The text is as beautiful as the music itself. It is taken from Scripture and the contrast between the Old Testament idea of death as dreadful, and the New Testament's welcome of eternal life, is nobly set forth.
The Cantata begins with a little Sonatina as Prelude, for two flutes, two viole da gamba, and the usual continue (figured bass) and organ; it is built up on one of the motives of transfigured grief which listeners have heard in many of the Cantatas, and the small orchestra is used with wonderful effect.
After the first sentence of the opening chorus, solemn and Impressive, there is a joyous fugue to the words 'In Him live we'; it gives way to solemnity again at the end, 'and in Him we die.' A little tenor aria follows, and then the bass announces with great vigour ' Set in order thine house' (from 'Isaiah'), the chorus joining with 'It Is the old decree.' The soprano voices break in with beautiful effect. 'Yea come, Lord Jesus,' and the orchestra, in the accompanying figure, plays the fine old chorale, 'I have cast my burden on the Lord.' The next part is a dialogue between alto and bass, with words from the Gospel, and the two voices join at the end, the alto singing ' In joy and peace I pass away,' to the notes of a splendid old chorale, The finale chorale, fully accompanied, is based on the old hymn tune, ' In Thee, O Lord, Is my hope.' The last line is worked out into a big choral fantasia, and the attentive listener will hear the orchestra playing the voices' theme in notes of twice their length.
The text is reprinted from the Novello
Edition by courtesy of Messrs. Novello and Co., Ltd.
God's own time is ever best of all. In Him live we, move and have our being as long as He wills. And in Him we die at His good time, when He wills.
0 Lord, incline us to consider that our days are number'd. Make us apply, onr hearts unto wisdom.
Set in order thine house, for thou shalt die, and not remain among the living.
It is the old decree, Man, thon art mortal. Yea, come, Lord Jesus, come.
Into Thy hands my spirit I commend, for Thou hast redeemed me, 0 Lord, Thou God of truth;
Thou shalt be with me today in Paradise. In joy and peace I pass away, whene'er
The fears that vex my anxious soul,
His love stilleth.
Trusting in His promise sure,
In death I sleep calm and secure.
All glory, praise, and majesty, To Father,
Son and Spirit be,
The holy, blessed, Trinity, whose power to us give victory.
Through Jesus Christ, Amen.
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