An Epiphany Cantata At St. Nicholas, Leipzig


Architectural detail at the Nikolaikirche in Leipzig, Germany

The Bach Hour features a performance that took place at one of the churches J.S. Bach served during his 27 years in Leipzig.  It's also a church with an amazing story to tell from more recent times.

The Nikolaikirche in Leipzig is one of the two major Lutheran churches for which Bach directed music during the peak of his creative life.  (He also did significant work at St. Paul's, the University Church in Leipzig.)  St. Thomas is the church most often associated with Bach, and, indeed, that is the most visible tribute to the composer, with a statue in the courtyard of the church, Bach's final resting place, and ongoing concerts and services that reflect his music.

But St. Nicholas heard just as much of Bach's music during his lifetime as did St. Thomas.  Most of the time, the music for services was the same, with one church hearing it in the morning and the other in the afternoon or evening.  In 2000, at the beginning of his Bach Cantata Pilgrimage, John Eliot Gardiner conducted soloists, the Monteverdi Choir, and the English Baroque Soloists in a performance of, among other pieces, the Cantata No. 123, Liebster Emmanuel, Herzog der Frommen, at the Nikolaikirche, a performance featured on The Bach Hour.  (Click on "Listen" above.")

Visit the Nikolaikirche online for more about the architectural history of the church and to read a message from Fr. Führer, who instituted the Monday prayer services in 1989.

To hear the story of Oct. 9, 1989, visit The Changing World, from the BBC World Service and PRI.


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