Sacred Sunday: “Jauchzet, frohlocket,” J.S. Bach

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Oh this is just the grooviest thing ever.  Before I open up the fangirl floodgates: this is the opening chorus of the first cantata in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.  (I know, I know, it’s past Christmas.)  This piece is just.  So.  Happy.  The Monteverdi Choir is obviously of the very finest class, and the orchestra is superlative.  But even more than that – holy crap, Gardiner.  His direction is inspired.  I will brook no dissent on the point that Sir John Eliot Gardiner is the finest conductor of this piece that ever lived.  Watch his direction of the choir especially from 6:37 onwards.  He sculpts the melody into a gorgeous arc of a phrase (which it already is but some choirs get a little too bogged down somehow) and then cues the basses – then the tenors! – then the altos! – then the sopranos! – until the choir is one unified, harmonious expression of joy.  Even better than that is that you can tell the singers are responding to him and are having an absolute blast.  I must have watched this thirty times and it never fails to make me laugh out loud with delight.  I hope it has the same effect on you.

Jauchzet, frohlocket! auf, preiset die Tage,
Shout for joy, exult, rise up, glorify the day,
Rühmet, was heute der Höchste getan!
praise what today the highest has done!
Lasset das Zagen, verbannet die Klage,
Abandon hesitation, banish lamentation,
Stimmet voll Jauchzen und Fröhlichkeit an!
begin to sing with rejoicing and exaltation!
Dienet dem Höchsten mit herrlichen Chören,
Serve the highest with glorious choirs,
Laßt uns den Namen des Herrschers verehren!
let us honour the name of our ruler!

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2 thoughts on “Sacred Sunday: “Jauchzet, frohlocket,” J.S. Bach

  1. crusty

    Since we are still celebrating Christmas, this was a marvelous highpoint of our ongoing celebrations for this Sunday (drapes pulled so tree can not be viewed) thank you. I have never enjoyed this piece so much. It gets continual play on a less-exciting recording I own but this is a beautiful rendition. What a joy indeed

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