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L’Esprit Baroque

thu 9 may 2024 20:00 hrs

Ascension Day: Praise God in His Kingdoms. Rich harmonic textures from Father Bach and Georg Philipp Telemann.

Ascencion Day, a significant Christian holiday, was often marked with magnificent musical compositions during the Baroque period. This era, lasting from roughly 1600 to 1750, saw composers create complex works to honor religious events and observances.

Ascension Day commemorates the physical ascension of Jesus into heaven. Many Baroque compositions pay tribute to this event. These pieces capture its solemnity and grandeur, inviting listeners to feel the awe and wonder of this momentous occasion. Composers like Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, Georg Philipp Telemann, and Antonio Vivaldi wrote music specifically for Ascension services, featuring extensive choral sections, intricate instrumental solos, and rich harmonic textures.

One of the most famous musical works for Ascension Day is Bach’s “Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen” (Praise God in His Kingdoms), also known as the Ascension Oratorio. Composed in 1735, this masterpiece includes lively choruses, lyrical arias, and complex recitatives that capture the joy and reverence associated with the Ascension.

We’ve used music from the recent Alpha Classics CD ‘Himmelfahrt’, which features beautiful performances of cantatas by Bach and Telemann, performed by Vox Luminis and the Freiburger Barockorchester conducted by Lionel Meunier.


Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Cantata for soloists, choir and orchestra BWV 11, “Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen”
– I Chorus Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen
– II Recitative Der Herr Jesus hub seine Hände auf
– III Recitative Ach, Jesu, ist dein Abschied schon so nah
– IV Aria Ach, bleibe doch, mein liebstes Leben
– V Recitative Und ward aufgehoben zusehends
– VI Chorale Nun lieget alles unter dir
– VII Recitative Und da sie ihm nachsahen gen Himmel fahren
– VIII Aria Jesu, deine Gnadenblicke
– IX Chorale Wenn soll es doch geschehen

Performed by: Zsuzsi Tóth, soprano, Alexander Chance, contratenor, Raphael Höhn, tenor, Tobias Wicky, bass, Vox Luminis and Freiburger Barockorchester conducted by Lionel Meunier

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)

2. Cantata for soloists, choir and orchestra TWV.1, nr.825, “Ich fahre auf zu meinem Vater”

– I Chor: Ich fahre auf zu meinem Vater

– II Rezitativ: Was sollt ich dieses nicht im Glauben hoffen?

– III Arie: Ich kann getrost im Tode sein

– IV Rezitativ: Denn eben darum setzte sich mein Jesus

– V Arie: Mein Schifflein treibet auf den Wellen

– VI Rezitativ: Ja doch getrost, mein Herz!

-VI Arie: Ich will alle Stunden zählen

– VII Choral: Amen, komm du schöne Freudenkrone

Performed by: Viola Blache, soprano, William Shelton, contratenor, Raphaël Höhn, tenor, Sebastian Myrus, bass. Vox Luminis and Freiburger Barockorchester conducted by Lionel Meunier
(CD: ‘Himmelfahrt’, Alpha 1032, 2024)


Special thanks to Muziekweb.

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