The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical Music at Easter: The Ear breaks 30,000, so here are Two Bachs with one title, one Telemann and another Bach

April 4, 2010

By Jacob Stockinger

Few holidays inspire as much glorious classical music as Easter — perhaps because the celebration is about transcendence. And that is a perfect subject for classical music since many listeners and philosophers and art critics think music reigns supreme over all the arts.

Just think of the great music people will be listening to today in churches around the world, including works by J.S. Bach and Vivaldi to Brahms, Poulenc and John Rutter, and even the joyful Toccata finale from Charles-Marie Widor’s Organ Symphony No. 5 — used for so many recessionals.

And you don’t have to be religious yourself to enjoy the beauty of the music and appreciate the texts and the universality of the human desire to rise above mortality.

What is you favorite Easter music? Let us all know.

In the meantime, here are two settings of the same text — “Christ Lay in the Bonds of Death” — by two related family members, one by Johann Sebastian Bach and another by his great-uncle Heinrich Bach in that extremely music family.

Here is the organ fugue by the great-uncle:

And here is an excerpt from the great work by J.S. Bach:

And here is another Easter egg in the basket: Another organ chorale setting by Georg Philipp Telemann:

And here is my final Easter gift to all my readers who have just helped by break the 30,000 mark (starting in late August) on Easter Sunday. It is soprano Nancy Argenta in the gorgeous cantata aria by J.S. Bach “Ich habe genug” or “I have enough”:

Happy Easter, all. Please keep reading and spreading the word. Each hits counts and motivates me.

Thank you.

Posted in Classical music

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