Easter Oratorio (BWV 249)

The Easter Oratorio (BWV 249), is an oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach, beginning with Kommt, eilet und laufet (“Come, hasten and run”). Bach composed it in Leipzig and first performed it on 1 April 1725.

the Easter Oratorio has no narrator but has four characters assigned to the four voice parts: Simon Peter (tenor) and John the Apostle (bass), Mary Magdalene (alto) and Mary Jacobe (soprano).

The oratorio opens with two contrasting instrumental movements, an Allegro concerto grosso of the full orchestra with solo sections for trumpets, violins and oboes, and an Adagio oboe melody over “Seufzer” motifs (sighs) in the strings.

The first duet of the disciples was set for chorus in a later version, the middle section remaining a duet. Many runs illustrate the movement toward the grave.

Saget, saget mir geschwinde, the aria of Mary Magdalene, is based on words from the Song of Songs, asking where to find the beloved.

The final movement in two contrasting sections resembles the Sanctus composed for Christmas 1724 and later part of the Mass in B minor.

Let me introduce you to this version by the Netherlands Bach Society, recorded in 2017 in Amsterdam.

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