Singing Bach’s motet “Lobet den Herrn” BWV 230
April 9, 2012
— bach, choir, choral music, electronic music, liturgical music, sacred music, steven speciale
This Easter, we sang Bach’s Lobet Den Herrn as our offertory anthem. Working on this piece for several months, we found that Bach’s motets encapsulate the essence of his genius as a composer. His command of musical complexity and counterpoint provides an excitement and freshness challenging to both listener and performer. It doesn’t surprise me that Mozart heard the motets and exclaimed “Here is something one can learn from.“
Lobet Den Herrn is the shortest of Bach’s motets. It is unique in several ways: it is in a single movement, it is his only motet composed for four voices, and it does not include a chorale tune. “Lobet den herrn” begins with a fugal rising arpeggio figure and a relentlessly joyful countersubject that continues through the second subject, “un preisit“. After a short reflective middle section “Denn seine Gnade“, “Lobet” culminates with a joyous Alleluia.
We sang this work with colla parte strings and continuo provided by our exceptional organist, Duane Steadman.