JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH – NUN IST DAS HEIL UND DIE KRAFT
The cantata set from Bach was probably created in 1723 in Leipzig. The piece is assumably the last movement of the cantata in the occasion of St. Michael’s Day, the day the archangel Michael is celebrated. In the lyrics, a voice proclaims the end of the fight between Michael and the devil in the form of a dragon in heaven.
The composition is a permutation fugue. This fugue is characterized by several uniform counterpoint themes constantly joining the main theme.
The orchestration consists of a (double-) choir, string players as well as trumpets, oboes and timpani.
JOHANNES BRAHMS – SCHICKSALSLIED
The “Schicksalslied” from Brahms is a scoring of the poem “Hyperions Schicksalslied” from Friedrich Hölderlin. The poem was published in 1799 and treats the contrast between the fateless world of gods and the suffering of the human existence.
Between 1868 and 1871 Brahms scored the poem underlining the opposition of the two worlds by using rhythmic and dynamic structures.
The piece is firstly performed in 1871 in Karlsruhe. Besides the four-voice choir the piece includes string players, numerous wind instruments and timpani.
The “Schicksalslied” consists of three movements: the Adagio in an E-flat major key, the Allegro in C minor and the exclusively orchestral Adagio in D major.
Besides the piece “Ein deutsches Requiem” the “Schicksalslied” is said to be one of the best choir pieces from Brahms.
PJOTR ILJITSCH TSCHAIKOWSKI – ROMEO UND JULIA
The overture from Tschaikowski is based on the eponymous theatre play by William Shakespeare. The tragedy treats the lovers Romeo and Juliet who come from two rivalling families in Verona, Italy. The action culminates in the reconciliation of the two families over the graves of their dead children who both committed suicide due to unfortunate events. The play was supposedly written around 1595.
The musical piece is said to be Tschaikowski’s masterpiece. It was composed in 1869 and performed for the first time in 1870 in Moscow. This piece made people recognise Tschaikowski outside of Russia for the first time.