August 23, 2017

1st Sunday after Trinity: Cantata & Pic of the Week

Woman & Child Watching, Black Brigade Monument, Cincinnati OH

(Click on picture for larger image)

About Today’s Picture

This statue of an African-American woman and her child, is part of the Black Brigade Monument in Smale Park on the riverfront in Cincinnati. It honors the courageous and city-saving contributions of a group of African-Americans who defended Cincinnati from Confederate forces in 1862. Here is a marvelous video, produced to introduce the monument, which tells the story of the Black Brigade and the making of the public art that pays them tribute.

The particular statue we feature today, created by Carolyn Manto, commemorates the watchfulness, fear, and hope of the women and children whose husbands were kidnapped and forced to work on the Kentucky side of the river in slave-like conditions. General Lew Wallace (of Ben Hur fame) became alarmed at the reports of their forced conscription and how they were being treated. He chose a local judge, William Martin Dickson, and asked him to remedy the situation. Dickson went to the camps of the various regiments, retrieved black men who had been seized, and brought them back. He let them return to their homes and families to make preparations for service under more humane conditions. The next morning, September 5th, about 700 African-American men voluntarily reported for duty, making them the first African-Americans organized and utilized for military purposes in the North. Manto’s statue captures the moment when the families of the returning captives saw them coming back across the Ohio River.

• • •

The Gospel for this Sunday in Bach’s day was the parable of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19-31). This was Bach’s first Sunday in Leipzig, May 30, 1723, when he presented his cantata BWV 75, “Die Elenden sollen essen, daß sie satt werden” (The meek shall eat and be satisfied) to the congregation there. The early reviews were favorable: “On the 30th of the same month….the new cantor Collegii Musici director Herr Joh. Sebastian Bach, who came here from the princely court in Cöthen, performed his first music to good applause.” It was well received.

Written in two sections, part one was performed before the sermon and part two after.

Michael Beattie says of this cantata, “The BWV 75, Die Elenden sollen essen the first cantata of Bach’s Leipzig tenure, overflows with invention. Critics and musicians have noted its somewhat unruly proportions, citing the truncated opening chorus and sprawling tenor aria, but it is filled with superb arias, engaged recitatives and very colorful orchestra writing; the cumulative dramatic effect of the piece is thrilling.” Craig Smith calls it, “one of the longest and grandest of all of the cantatas.”

Here is a performance of the delightful sinfonia that begins part 2. Note the lovely chorale tune featuring the trumpet:

The first aria in part 2 is sung by the alto, in which she expresses her desire to have true riches, no matter what the world may offer.

Jesus makes my spirit rich.
If I can receive his Spirit,
I will nothing further long for;
For my life doth grow thereby.
Jesus makes my spirit rich.

The bass aria then proclaims with enthusiasm, to resounding brass accompaniment, that Jesus is the true Treasure of the heart.

My heart believes and loves
for the sweet flames of Jesus
which are the source of mine,
altogether overwhelm me,
since he gives himself to me.

This cantata ends with a powerful, uplifting affirmation of faith, reprising the music of the chorale fantasy that ended part 1.

What God does, is well done,
I will cling to this.
Along the harsh path
trouble, death and misery may drive me.
Yet God will,
just like a father,
hold me in His arms:
therefore I let Him alone rule.

Comments

  1. Susan Dumbrell says:

    On a Sunday I guess I am first?
    Much Bach all round. I love Sunday’s Bach.

    A great day of praise to our Lord and a wonderful concert at our little bush church this afternoon.
    We have recently been gifted a three stave, ( with pedals) electronic organ.
    It is sweet. No theatre organ, just pure sound. A delight.

    We had at our little bush church, of which I have spoken of before, a Mid Winter Concert this afternoon.
    Papa Bach for sure. Great stuff. Our Pastor is an accomplished organist. Had us almost standing in the aisles with his Bach renditions. Well almost.
    The rafters rang.
    We also had an unusual trio combination, I think it was a B flat Tuba, the Organ and Piano rendering ‘The Holy City’. Worked quite well in the small space.
    I haven’t heard this since I was at School circa 1960 or earlier.
    Strange item following. The local Symphonic Choir of 20 members gave us a sample of Karl Jenkins works.
    Takes a bit of aquiring. Not my cup of tea but we all need our horizons broadened.
    The choir finished with a selection of ‘Porgy and Bess’. That was great and I think the audience loved this much better than the Karl Jenkins.
    Our little church was packed to the gunnels. We can fit 80 people in seated. Then standing room only. Beautiful sunny day and afternoon tea with a huge amount of food to follow.
    What a Sunday!
    Hope yours is soul lifting too.
    Susan

  2. Time spent at Working Preacher this morning with Bach 24/7 accompaniment distilled all of today’s lectionary readings down to two words, healing and liberation, as descriptors of the working ministry of Jesus and those he sent out, this after the announcement of the opening of the Kingdom of God. Seems to me that healing and liberation pretty much sums up the whole story of God we have been given in the Bible. Seems to me that healing and liberation are pretty much the primary needs of most of those who hang out here, and also fits with today’s story. Also seems like healing and liberation have become more difficult than Jesus demonstrated, and that it is a lot easier to put them on the back burner so we can argue. Today I am thinking of another two word summation of God that Jesus disclosed, that of the Good Father, which also seems to carry its own set of difficulties these days. Think I’ll just let Papa Bach carry the load.

    • Dana Ames says:

      Charley,

      you may know – because I’ve harped on it a lot here 🙂 – that the Greek word soteria, which is usually translated as “salvation”, carries the two primary meanings of deliverance and healing. (The English “salvation” comes from Latin roots that refer to the healing aspect – we put salve on a wound.) It’s never been about “going to heaven after you die” or “being rescued from God’s condemnation/hell”.

      Hope you have good memories of your father.

      Dana

      • Thanks, Dana, never hurts to be reminded of what should be obvious but mostly isn’t. My memories of my father are helped somewhat as I age and realize he walked this one ahead of me and did pretty good considering what he had to work with and where he started from. Would like to think maybe my daughter might say the same of me some day, but that might be asking a lot. God as good Father could be Jesus’ most unappreciated and least acknowledged gift, and I tend to take daughters as I find them along the way and try to do better, blessed be. Always glad when you show up here. ~Charley

  3. Susan Dumbrell says:

    why don’t others like Bach??
    He enriches the heart for the coming week.

  4. Susan Dumbrell says:

    I know its the middle of your night. Sorry if I interrupt.
    Listen to Bach.
    Susan

    • Hello Susan,
      It’s morning now here in the UK and the weather is scorching. That’s not something we get to say very much here in England so it is quite hard to keep quiet about it. You’ve inspired me and I will be listening to Bach as I work and try to stay cool this morning (although Porgy and Bess is quite tempting too).
      J

      • Susan Dumbrell says:

        Hi JennyT
        Nice to hear from you. My son lives in London and says the weather is either this or that. Nothing fortuitous.
        I think they like the few days of HOT because the rest of the year is URGH

        Nice to hear from you as I said. Sometimes I feel the World is dominated by the USA. And also our blog by males.! Oh ,my gosh, a sexist remark??

        We need to keep the USA bloggers in control!! I think so. They get out of control.Love them all,l I promise.
        Jenny, contribute more. We should talk.

        Love you all, regardless of nation or sexual orientation.

        Susan

    • Dana Ames says:

      I love Bach, Susan!

      Dana