J. S. Bach (1685 - 1750)
Cantata 82 (Ich habe genug) was written for the Feast of thePurification (2nd February) in 1727. In accordance with the principles ofPietism the text does not refer directly to a biblical event (in this case, thereaction of Simeon to the experience of seeing the infant Jesus in the temple),but obliquely, in paraphrase. It reflects upon approaching death, depicting aprogression from resignation to the end of earthly life in the first aria topositive joy at the prospect of eternal life in the last. The cantata form as weencounter it here is a cross between the German 18th-century church cantata andthe Italian cantata spirituale in that it contains a sequence of arias separatedby recitative, but was intended for church use. Part of Bach's work as Kantorinvolved the provision of a cantata every Sunday for performance at theHauptgottesdienst, or main service. Considering that his singers were culledfrom the local Thomasschule, it was imperative that the bulk of the music beleft to competent soloists, and in several of Bach's cantatas the chorus singsonly a chorale at the end. A few, such as Ich habe genug, are writtenentirely for one soloist. The three arias that form the bulk of this cantata areall superb examples of Bach's artistry. The outer movements share thetime-signature of 3/8, but could not be more different in character, the firsthighly reminiscent of Erbarme, dich from the St. Matthew Passion,the last a gigue whose eloquent melismas graphically illustrate the idea offinal release and joy. The middle movement, Schlummert ein, uses fallingphrases and subdominant inflexions to represent sleep.
Schola Cantorum is Oxford University's longest-running chamber choir. It wasfounded in 1960 by the Hungarian dissident Laszlo Heltay, and over the lastthree decades many of the choir' s former members have become involved inprofessional music at the highest levels. Former singers include Emma Kirkby andJane Glover, while Andrew Parrott, Nicholas Cleobury, and Ivor Bolton are amongthe choir's former conductors. Schola Cantorum's patrons are Sir Michael Tippettand Lord Menuhin, and for specific projects the choir has worked under LeonardBernstein, Gunstav Leonhardt, Sir Colin Davis, and Sir Neville Marriner as wellas Britten, Tippett, and Stravinsky in performances of their own music, since1990 Schola Cantorum has been conducted by Jeremy Summerly under whom the choirhas released many recordings and has toured extensively, both in Britain andabroad.
Jeremy Summerly studied Music at New College, Oxford from where he graduatedwith First Class Honours in 1982. For the next seven years he worked for BBCRadio and it was during this time that he founded the Oxford Camerata andundertook postgraduate research at King's College, London. In 1989 he became alecturer at the Royal Academy of Music and in the following year he wasappointed conductor of Schola Cantorum of Oxford. In 1991 he signed a long-termcontract with Naxos to record a variety of music with Schola Cantorum of Oxfordand the Oxford Camerata.
Northem Chamber Orchestra, Manchester
Formed in 1967, the orchestra has established itself as one of England 'sfinest chamber ensembles. Though often augmented to meet the requirements of theconcert programme, the orchestra normally contains 24 musicians and performsboth in concert and on disc without a conductor. Their repertoire ranges fromthe baroque era to music of our time, and they have gained a reputation forimaginative programme planning.
Concerts take the orchestra throughout the North of England and it hasreceived four major European bursaries for its achievements in the community.
With a series of recordings for Naxos the orchestra makes its debut on disc.
Nicholas Ward was born in Manchester, the son of parents who met when theybecame members of the Halle Orchestra. At the age of twelve he formed his ownstring quartet which remained together for five years until he entered the RoyalNorthern College of Music in Manchester. Having studied with Yossi Zivoni inManchester and Andre Gertler in Brussels, he moved to London in 1977where hejoined the Melos Ensemble and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. " In 1984he became co-leader of the City of London Sinfonia and leader of the NorthernChamber Orchestra to which he was subsequently appointed Musical Director.
Nicholas Gedge was born in Brecon, Wales and read Law at Cambridge Universitybefore taking up a postgraduate scholarship to study singing at the RoyalAcademy of Music. He was supported by awards from the Countess of MunsterMusical Trust and the Wolfson and Leverhulme Foundations and was awarded TheSilver Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians and the Queen's Commendationfor Excellence. Since then he has sung Leporello, Charon, Sourin, Colline,Inspector Otto, and Theseus, while on the concert platform his performances haveincluded the Bach Passions, Messiah, The Creation, and Belshazzar's Feast.