$35 USD per device. This program is 60 mins, including time for discussion to ask questions and exchange ideas. Suitable for all ages, no background required.

  • Friday, June 4, 2021 at 1:00 pm EST

Writing for both the church and aristocracy, Johann Sebastian Bach was the Baroque period at its apotheosis. Together we will explore one of Bach’s most beloved cantatas, “Sleepers, Wake” (no. 140), completed around 1730. Since Bach was one of the most intellectual composers, we’ll discover the cantata’s satisfyingly symmetrical structure together. Based on the parable of the Ten Virgins, 18th-century Lutheran believers were reminded of how to keep their faith in order. We’ll also trace Bach’s skillful joining of words and music. Cantatas were performed in actual worship after all, so texts had to reflect the church calendar. We’ll see how this music has also expanded way beyond its original function.

You will:

  • Learn about J.S. Bach and the people for whom he composed.
  • Interpret Bach’s musical language.
  • Understand this cantata and its performative role in worship services.
  • Examine how Bach brought theological texts to life with insightful musical settings.

Your educator David Johnson, is a musicologist whose areas of speciality include the Baroque period and the 19th century, with a focus on Richard Wagner, along with the history of rock music. He earned his PhD in Musicology from The Graduate Center, City University of New York. At Hunter College and Marymount Manhattan College, he teaches survey courses on the history of Western music and seminars on rock history. David’s other courses have focused on Baroque music and American popular song. Previously he taught at Baruch College. He is also a composer, with works published on UbuWeb.

You can also sign up for our series Classical Music Masterworks.

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