We decided to go back to the Nikolaikirche for Sunday service based on the music list: Cantata 76 and Motet 6. Also Carl had left all of the umbrellas we just purchased in a bag under his seat, and we wanted to find out if the bag was still there. Unfortunately it wasn’t.
Today’s service was more like a concert. The non-musical parts were kept to a minimum and there was no communion. The service opened with “Locus iste” of Bruckner (one of the LCH Choir’s ‘chestnuts’) and a German chorale, “Lobt Gott den Herrn.” I was surprised that throughout the service, no more than two verses of any of the hymns were sung. Even the Gloria only contained one phrase: Glory be to God on high, and peace on earth to all men. Amen (in German, of course.) There was only one lesson, Luke 14:15-24.
The heart of the service was Cantata 76, “Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes.” sung by the church choir and the Festivalorchester Leipzig. The first part was sung before the sermon (the first 7 movements), and the second part afterwards (movements 8-14.) I was surprised to hear the organ dominate throughout — in the aria with the bass and brass, the organist played full organ with mixtures, and the poor bass soloist was completely overshadowed. My favorite soloist was the Japanese countertenor, Hiroya Aoki.
For the postlude, the choir and orchestra performed Motet No. 6, Lobe den Herrn, at a very fast clip.
As we walked downstairs, we ran into Cheryl Ryder, one of the sopranos who sang with Boston’s Church of the Advent Choir when Carl went on tour with them to Venezuela in 1992! She now sings at the First Lutheran Church in Boston.
I can’t believe all the people we are running into in Leipzig!
In the late afternoon we went to a fantastic concert by the Vocalconsort Berlin who did a program of Baroque funeral music, including music by Johann Schein, Johann Michael Bach, Heinrich Schütz, Johann Schelle and Johann Sebastian Bach. In my mind it was choral perfection with the sound of the choir always shaped beautifully, never forced, perfectly balanced. We heard two more Bach motets, Komm, Jesu komm and Jesu meine Freude. The choir received a well-deserved, very long ovation.