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From Stabat to the Miserere

Bach and the Neapolitan

Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden BWV 1083

J.S. Bach Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden, BWV 1083 and instrumental pieces from Durante, Porpora and Scarlatti.

During his stay at the Court of Weimar from 1708 to 1717, Bach composed the majority of his work for the organ. At this time, he also discovered Italian music and Vivaldi’s concerti in particular.

Bach worked closely on the concerti and created several transpositions including his arrangement of Vivaldi’s concerto for four violins RV 580 for four harpsichords (BWV 1065) as well as some other violin concerti arranged for organ or harpsichord.

Bach also borrowed themes from Legrenzi, Corelli, Albinoni, Bonporti, Frescobaldi and others to use in his own compositions.

He never stopped copying or asking his students to copy other composers’ music, out of pedagogical reasons but also to diversify the repertoire of his churches, while alleviating his own work load around the end of his life.

In around 1740, Bach payed tribute to Pergolesi, the young Neapolitan musician who had died a few years earlier, reusing the music of his Stabat mater.

This piece which is now utterly famous, had already known great success across Europe when originally composed in 1736. Leipzig’s Cantor replaced the Latin lyrics of the Stabat Mater by the Lutheran Psalm 51 Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden

He also modified the music by significantly developing the viola’s part. The counterpoint also got denser which would mark this Italian frame with the print of the German genius. The Flying Squad of the Queen choose to embed other pieces from Neapolitan composers known to Bach to this program: Durante Scarlatti et Porpora. Note that they were all teachers or students at the same conservatory: the Conservatorio dei Poveri di Gesù Cristo.


Francesco DURANTE (1684-1755)

Concerto pour cordes n°1, en fa mineur

Poco andante – Allegro – Andante – Amoroso - Allegro

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)

Psaume 51 : Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden, BWV 1083.

Versus 1 : Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden

Versus 2 : Ist mein Herz in Missetaten

Versus 3 : Missetaten, die mich drücken

Versus 4 : Dich erzürnt mein Tun und Lassen

Versus 5 : Wer wird seine Schuld verneinen

Versus 6 : Sieh, ich bin in Sünd empfangen

Versus 7 : Sieh, Du willst die Wahrheit haben

Versus 8 : Wasche mich doch rein

Versus 9 : Lass mich Freud und Wonne spüren


Nicola PORPORA (1686-1768)

Sinfonia da camera op. 2 n°5, en mi mineur

Affettuoso – Allegro – Adagio - Giga : Allegro

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)

Psaume 51 : Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden, BWV 1083

Versus 10 : Schaue nicht auf meine Sünden

Versus 11 : Öffne Lippen, Mund und Seele

Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725)

Sinfonia a quattro senza cembalo, en do mineur

Andante : fuga - Largo : Grave-allegro - Minuet

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)

Psaume 51 : Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden, BWV 1083.

Versus 12 : Denn Du willst kein Opfer haben

Versus 13 : Lass Dein Zion blüben dauren

Versus 14 : Amen

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