November 22, 2017

10th Sunday after Trinity: Pic & Cantata of the Week

Apocalyptic Skies (2016)

(Click on picture for larger image)

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Apparently, this time of year is a season in which apocalyptic themes take hold. With this year’s solar eclipse, our minds are focused on these themes as well, and Bach gives us music by which to meditate on the upheavals that shake our universe and cause us to turn our eyes heavenward.

Today’s cantata, BWV 46, “Schauet doch und sehet, ob irgendein Schmerz sei,” (Behold and see, if there be any sorrow), like all those J.S. Bach wrote for the tenth Sunday after Trinity, responds to the Gospel text from Luke 19 about the impending destruction of Jerusalem:

As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.” (Luke 19:41-44)

Craig Smith talks about one of the most striking movements in this work, the bass aria that describes the coming storm of judgment.

The stunning, stormy bass aria with trumpet and strings is one of the most dramatic things in all of Bach. Trumpet fanfares vie and play in canon with the bass voice and the repeated notes of the strings. The igniting of the lightning of vengeance is palpable in the roaring of the orchestral texture. The cracks of lightning can be heard in the precipitous stops and starts in the rhythmic continuity.

The storm you have deserved comes on you from afar,
and now its flash bursts upon you
and it must be unendurable for you
since the overflowing heap of your sins
kindles lightning in revenge
and brings about your downfall

Comments

  1. Susan Dumbrell says:

    Great Bach as usual. There is no other kind.

    The Gospel reading for today is about the Canaanite women seeking healing for her daughter.
    The woman was ‘a gentile’ and unclean under Jewish law.

    Her incessant pleading to Jesus who had a rough day with the Pharisees show us the mercy of God’s love in the worst of circumstances.

    We pray and ask God to accept our requests.

    May we walk with our Lord this week.

    Blessings,
    Susan

  2. Susan Dumbrell says:

    Please pray for ‘Lottie” 10 week old beautiful baby girl. In hospital. On massive antibiotics. She is so beautiful. Cream cheeks and a mob of dark hair, such a child of God
    Please do not ignore my asking for prayer assistance for Lottie.
    Ask God keep her in His keeping.
    Wonderful family and parents, needing our prayer support.
    May we all be blessed by such a wonderful loving family.

    God’s family of believers can offer a prayer for Lottie and say ‘Amen’,

    • Heather Angus says:

      Of course I will pray for Lottie. The suffering of children is the most unendurable.

  3. stars will disappear
    into black nonexistence
    today the sun shines

  4. Susan Dumbrell says:

    earth waits with breath held
    Lottie struggles for each breath
    our Lord gives His touch

    prayers please
    Amen

  5. Ronald Avra says:

    May we receive God’s grace and peace in the midst of our storm.

  6. Blessed be.