In J.S. Bach’s position as Cantor and Music Director in Leipzig, he was expected to compose a new cantata for each Sunday of the church year. Bach composed today’s cantata, Jesu nahm zu sich die Zwölfe (BWV 22), in 1723 as part of his audition for this job. Instead of creating a flashy showpiece with large choir or virtuosic playing, Bach chose to show just how much variety and drama he could create with only a handful of musicians. By borrowing forms from opera and introducing an Evangelist (narrator) and Jesus to help tell the story, Bach takes us on an emotional journey to Jerusalem. We will hear the disciples lament their uncertainty, but end with a celebration of unquestioned faith.
This Sunday you will also hear an aria excerpted from a different cantata (BWV 127), titled Die Seele ruht in Jesu Händen. This addition to the program emphasizes the idea that our Lenten journeys may be difficult and demanding, but hope and fulfillment await us.