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Program & explanation 30-08-2020

Today this concert is dedicated to the chorales of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Simply put, chorales are church hymns, especially developed by Luther in the 16th century, who was an important advocate of this. Luther got the melodies from German composers but also from the street and the tunes that were known at the time. We will hear about it later. Because the Catholic Church has also sung chants in the vernacular since the 1960s, many chorale melodies are also known to the Catholic part of the Netherlands.

Our grandmaster Bach knew his chorales like the back of his hand. He incorporated them in countless cantatas, in passions (just think of the Matthew passion with all its chorales), but also in motets and as a basis for organ works. What makes Bach and the chorale so clever is that, when Bach provides a chorale melody with an accompaniment, (this is called harmonizing) it always happens in a very special way. With contemporaries it is often simple according to the rules, but with Bach every chorale setting is a gem.

But we start this concert first with a duet for two organs, a fairly unique event in the music world. In addition to being a priest, Antonio Soler was also a musician at the court in Madrid and there were numerous instruments set up, including two house organs. That is why it is reasonable for him to compose something for two such instruments, like a duet. Soler would have been forgotten if he hadn't had a very important apprentice: Dominico Scarlatti. You may not know him, but in the music world it is a kind of Bach of the southern countries. We are now going to listen to Sonata No. 3 by Soler for two organs.

1. Sonata No. III

Padre A. Soler (1729 - 1783)

2. Coral arrangements

JS Bach (1685 - 1750)

A 4-part setting by Bach himself, or an earlier version thereof, is sung of each chorale, followed by a chorale arrangement for organ. Bach uses the melody of the chorale, which is then decorated with extra notes, or played in the bass while the other voices play above it; all this in a very artistic way. Also in this branch of sport the grandmaster was ahead of his time and unbeatable…!

The motet 'Jesu meine Freude' was a very popular chorale in Bach's time and he therefore worked on it several times. The choir will soon be singing the first verse in a 4-part setting by Bach, followed by a fantasy on the organ about the same melody. But beware: only the first 3 sentences of the coral are used. Bach comes up with all kinds of music and then regularly plays the chorale in long notes, sometimes as the highest notes, sometimes at the bottom as the lowest notes and sometimes in the middle, so you have to listen carefully to see if you can still hear the melody. One thing is certain: it is there!

Then the choir closes with the 6th verse of this chorale.

2a. Jesu meine Freude

Coral (from Motet 'Jesu, meine Freude' - BWV 227)

1. Jesu, meine Freude, meiner Herzens Weide,

Jesu, meine Zier,

oh who long, oh long ist dem Herzen scared

und desires nach dir.

Gottes Lamm, mein Bräutigam,

ausser dir soll mir auf Erden

nichts sonst Liebers.

Coral fantasy for organ - BWV 713

2. (6.) Weicht, ihr Trauergeister, denn mein Freudenmeister,

Jesus, tritt herein.

Danes, who lieben Gott, muss auch ihr Betrüben

lauter Zucker signal.

Duld ich schon here Spott und Hohn,

dennoch bleibst du auch im Leide,

Jesu, meine Freude.

In Bach's Lutheran church in Germany it was customary to go to church again in the afternoon. And for that service in the afternoon, Bach would then write a cantata for every Sunday, a smaller or larger work, inspired by the Gospel of that Sunday. Such a cantata was often based on a chorale and around it Bach made all kinds of choirs and arias. So it was still a pleasant afternoon in the church! On the 27th Sunday after Trinity Sunday, sometime in November, that Sunday's gospel was about the story of the bridegroom approaching for his wedding feast, but he is somewhat late, leaving five girls short of oil for their lamps . You should read that story about the five foolish and five wise virgins in Matthew.

And that is what this cantata is about: about the bridegroom (symbol for Christ) and the bride (symbol for the Christian souls). Bach uses a song by Nicolai from 1599 as the basis for his cantata: 'Wachet auf! , ruft uns die Stimme '.

For the second verse of that chorale, he makes a very beautiful and now well-known melody in which the tenors weave the chorale through it at set times. At the end of the cantata, the 3rd verse of the chorale is stately sung as a cheerful hymn.

2b. Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme

Chorale arrangement (from Cantata 140)

1. (2.) Zion hear die Watcher singen,

das Herz thut ihr vor Freuden jump

sie wachet und steht eilend auf.

Ihr Freund kommt von Himmelprächtig,

von Gnaden stark, von Wahrheit mighty,

ihr Licht wird hell, ihr Stern geht auf.

Nun komm, du werthe Kron ',

Herr Jesu, Gottes Sohn - Hosianna!

who follow All 'zum Freudensaal,

und halten mit das Abendmahl.

2. (3.) Gloria sei dir gesungen

mit Menschen- und englichen Zungen,

mit Harfen und mit Cymbeln schon.

Von zwölf Perlen sind die Pforten

an deiner Stadt; wir sind Consorten

der Engel hoch um deinen Thron.

Kein Aug 'hat you spürt,

kein Ohr hat je gehört - solche Freude.

Dess sind wir froh, io! io!

ewig in dulci jubilo.

'Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein' was a chorale melody that haunted Bach's mind at the end of his fertile life. At the end of his life, Bach was blind and weak from health due to an unsuccessful eye operation. On his deathbed, he therefore dictated an arrangement for organ on this chorale to his son-in-law Johann Altnikol, but opted for a different text on the same melody: 'Vor deinem Thron tret' ich hiermit '. Mozart also met such a fate with the Requiem, the notes of which had to be dictated by him at the end of his life.

But the melody of this chorale by Bach was used in the 1950s by Huub Oosterhuis for his song 'As long as there are people on earth'. One of the first Oosterhuis songs; many more would follow.

Each sentence of the chorale is treated separately, first in shorter notes and then with a different sound of the organ in longer notes, thus all four sentences of the chorale.

2c. Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein

Coral BWV 432

1. Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein

und erase nicht, wo aus und ein,

und finden again neither Hilf nor Rat,

ob wir gleich sorgen früh und spat,

Chorale arrangement for organ - BWV 668

So ist das unser Trost allein,

dass wirzusammen insgemein

anrufen dich, du treuer Gott,

um Rettung aus der Angst und Not.

The chorale melodies that Bach used for his compositions were often centuries old. The origin of the melodies was also very diverse. For example, the following chorale 'Von Gott will ich nicht lassen' originated somewhere in Italy in the 15th century.

The song was also known in France as 'Une jeune Fillette' or as 'La Colline' and in Germany as 'Ich went einmahl spazieren'.

You will soon hear the French version of the street tune first. Followed by the organ arrangement that Bach made of it. Bach composes a very special piece of music and in the middle of the sound spectrum he plays the melody of the chorale in long notes. So not as the highest notes, not as the lowest notes, but somewhere in the middle.

You can hear it from the slightly pungent sound of that organ voice….

2d. Von Gott will ich nicht lassen

Une jeune Fillette (Ich gieng einmahl spazieren) (La Colline)

Une jeune fillette de noble coeur,

Plaisante et joliette de grand 'valeur.

Outre son gré on l'a rendu 'nonnete

Cela point ne luy haicte dont vit en grand 'douleur.

Outre son gré ...

Chorale arrangement for organ - BWV 658

Coral BWV 419

Von Gott will ich nicht lassen, denn er lässt nicht von mir,

führt mich durch alle Strassen, da ich sonst irrte sehr.

There is mir Seine Hand der Abend wie den Morgen

tut er mich wohl versorgen, sei wo ich woll im Land.

This afternoon we also get to hear a different sound than Bach and his chorales. We take a short trip to France in the second half of the 19th century. The young composer Leon Boëllmann wrote large and small organ works there. He composed a whole series of beautiful works for the harmonium. This was invented in France around 1840 as a replacement for the organ in small churches and chapels, but also for the home. One of those works, an 'Offertoire', was arranged by Frans Bullens for harmonium together with piano, a combination that was very popular in France at the same time. This afternoon we have the large Rushworth and Dreaper harmonium, which is an instrument of the Volckaert and which has been housed in this church.

3. Offertoire in C

L. Boëllmann (1862 - 1897)

arrangement for piano and harmonium by Frans Bullens

Finally, we return to the world of corals one more time. Frans Bullens makes his own chorale arrangement to a beautiful melody by Georg Neumark from 1641. The melody is widely known in Protestant and Catholic circles. The first verse is sung without accompaniment, followed by an instrumental interlude on the harmonium, followed by the second verse where the choir sings the chorale in 4 parts. The instrumental playing that follows is a collaboration between piano and harmonium, in which the melody lies with the harmonium. The last verse is a powerful unison with a harmonium and piano, and with that, this concert and the second summer cycle will also come to an end!

4. Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten

Chorale arrangement by Frans Bullens

1. Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten

Und hoffet auf Ihn allerzeit

Der wird Ihn wunderlicht erhalten

In aller Not und Traurigkeit.

Wer Gott dem Allerhöchsten traut

Der hat auf keinen Sand gebaut.

2. (3.) Mann stop now just a little quiet

Und sey but in sich selbst vergnügt

Wie unser Gottes Gnadenwille

Who signals' Allwissenheit es fügt

Gott der uns Ihm hat auserwehlt

Der weis auch sehr wohl was uns fehlt.

3. (7.) Sing, bet und geh auf Gottes Wegen

Do das Beine nur getreu

Und trau des Himmels reichen Segen

So wird Er bey dir zijn neu.

Denn welchern Seine Zuversicht

Auf Gott setzt den Verläst Er nicht.

Rick Muselaers.jpg
Rick Muselaers

studied Music in Education, Choral Conducting (Louis Buskens in NL, Martin Wright in US) and Orchestra Conducting (Arjan Tien). He is currently studying singing with Jaap Smit.

Rick is affiliated with the Zuid Nederlands Concert Koor, Koorgroep Oosterhout, Kamerkoor Tourdion, Dal Cuore, Consortium Musicum Divertimento and Kamerkoor Zuid.

As a guest conductor he has worked and works with Project Choir Gelderland, Brabant Koor, Dutch Handel Association, Gauteng Opera Chorus (Johannesburg), Netherlands Concert Choir, Groot Omroepkoor and has collaborated with conductors such as Jaap van Zweden, Claus Peter Flor and Markus Stenz.

In addition to his concert practice, he regularly gives master classes in Hong Kong & Chicago.

Rick was appointed ambassador of the HHW School for Performing Arts in Chicago ( ) in September 2013 and is an advisor to the Koorplein Noord-Brabant foundation ( )

Frans Bullens

studied organ with Maurice Pirenne at the Brabant Conservatory (graduation in 1978) and electronic keyboards-light music at the same institute (graduation in 1996).

From 1970 to 1980, Frans was an organist at the St. Lambertus Church in Veghel. In his working life he was associated with the foundation 'Het KunstPodium' - Dongen, Gilze & Rijen and the foundation 'H 19'-art education in Oosterhout as a teacher of organ, keyboards, piano and choir formation.

At the moment, Frans Bullens is still active as choirmaster-organist in the Parish of Dongen and as such associated with the St. Laurentius Church, where, in addition to organ playing, he also directs the Mixed Choir St. the Gregorian Choir. He is also choirmaster at the Basilica of St. Jan in Oosterhout and in the parish St. Elisabeth in Raamsdonk and Raamsdonksveer.

He is a board member of the Ned. St. Gregory Association of the diocese of Breda, board member of the Dutch Gregorian Festival and advisor to the Ludens Foundation and the Mattheus-Passion Foundation, both in Oosterhout. On occasion, Frans Bullens is also a concert organist, composer and editor of much instrumental and vocal (church) music.

Many of his answer psalms are published in the Sunday Masses of Gooi & Sticht and the Abbey of Berne. For the diocese of Breda he wrote the 'Mass vd H. Geest' and four answer psalms for the Vormselliturgie. For the order of the Montfortians he composed two series of Canticles by Montfort in a translation by A. Govaart, both of which were released on CD. He also composed 6 songs for the collection Franciscan Songs which was published in 2019.

Kamerkoor Zuid.jpg
Chamber choir South

Kamerkoor Zuid was founded in 2013 as an independent part of the Zuid Nederlands Concert Koor ( ). With the Kamerkoor Zuid, the ZNCK Foundation can serve clients better and a different repertoire can be offered.

Unlike the ZNCK choir, the chamber choir does not work on a project basis, but is a regular choir that rehearses together on a weekly basis.

Kamerkoor Zuid consists of excellent, experienced amateur singers, conservatory students and professional musicians and in the short period of its existence, under the inspiring leadership of Rick Muselaers, has developed into an unorthodox chamber choir with a beautiful full and warm choral sound.

The repertoire of Chamber Choir South includes Handel's Dixit Dominus, Schütz's Musikalische Exequien, Reger's Requiem, Bach's Johannes Passion and Bruckner's Mass in E-minor. The Kamerkoor Zuid rehearses on Monday evening in the beautiful chapel of the Fransiscanessen sisters in Dongen.

For more information, please email

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