Harmonia Early Music

Leipzig Job Ads

This week, a look at all who were taken into consideration for the Leipzig Kantor’s job. We’ll also review new release from John Eliot Gardiner.

statue in front of building

Photo: Zarafa

A statue of Johann Sebastian Bach outside of the Church of St. Thomas (Leipzig, Gemany).

On June 5th, 1722, an aging and infirm Johann Kuhnau passed away leaving open the position of Thomaskantor of Leipzig. As director of music for all of the town’s churches and university, as well as teacher at the Thomasschule, Kuhnau had a lot of responsibility, to say the least. When it came time to find a replacement, the town council looked only for the best and the brightest.

Initially their first and only choice was a major coup. The council picked Georg Phillip Telemann, arguably the most famous and successful German composer of the time. But it was not to be — months after he passed an audition, Telemann withdrew his application.

The next candidate was Christoph Graupner, a former student of Kuhnau. Unfortunately, Graupner’s employer would not release him from his current job and the town council was forced to move ahead.

A member of the Leipzig town council made it clear when their preferred candidates could not be acquired: “Since the best could not be obtained, mediocre ones would have to be accepted.” Apparently, the council was forced to lower their standards against their will.

The mediocre candidates weren’t necessarily bad, they just didn’t want to teach as the job description required. There were four names in the lot: Georg Friderich Kauffmann, Johann Heinrich Rolle, Johann Sebastian Bach, and a local by the name of Georg Balthasar Schott.

It is no secret that Johann Sebastian Bach was ultimately given the Kantor’s job at the Thomasschule. As well, it also known that he was to a certain extent unhappy with this job—he was primarily dissatisfied with an unsympathetic town council. With his passing away in 1750, the job of Thomaskantor was his last and most lengthy period of employment that produced, in spite of his unhappiness, some of his most memorable works.

The English Baroque Soloists is featured in our new release of the week. Vol. 21 of the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage series brings us live performances from two different locations in England — Walpole St. Peter in Norfolk and King’s College Chapel in Cambridge.

Das Kleine Konzert, Soprano Ingrid Schmithüsen, accompanied by L’Ensemble des Idées heureuses, Martin Gester and oboist Randall Cook, The Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists,

Music Heard On This Episode

Johann Kuhnau: Chorale: Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern
Soloists, Choir and Orchestra of the King's Consort, Robert King, dir. — Sacred Music (Hyperion, 1998)
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Johann Kuhnau: Chorale: Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern
Soloists, Choir and Orchestra of the King's Consort, Robert King, dir. — Sacred Music (Hyperion, 1998)
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Johann Kuhnau: Tenor Recitative: Allein, heut wird der Grosse klein.
Soloists, Choir and Orchestra of the King's Consort, Robert King, dir. — Sacred Music (Hyperion, 1998)
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Johann Kuhnau: Chorus: Uns ist ein Kind geboren
Soloists, Choir and Orchestra of the King's Consort, Robert King, dir. — Sacred Music (Hyperion, 1998)
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George Phillip Telemann: Overture
Das Kleine Konzert — Telemann, Das befreite Israel (CPO, 1999)
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Georg Phillip Telemann: Allemande
Das Kleine Konzert — Telemann, Das befreite Israel (CPO, 1999)
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Georg Phillip Telemann: Chaconne
Das Kleine Konzert — Telemann, Das befreite Israel (CPO, 1999)
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Christoph Graupner: Sonata: Adagio--Largo--Adagio--Largo
L'Ensemble des Idées heureuses, Ingrid Schmithüsen, soprano — Cantate, Sonate, Ouverture (Analekta, 2003)
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Christoph Graupner: Recitativo: so mich drückt
L'Ensemble des Idées heureuses, Ingrid Schmithüsen, soprano — Cantate, Sonate, Ouverture, vol. 2 (Analekta, 2003)
Buy from Amazon »
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Christoph Graupner: Choral: Erbarm dich mein
L'Ensemble des Idées heureuses, Ingrid Schmithüsen, soprano — Cantate, Sonate, Ouverture, vol. 2 (Analekta, 2003)
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Christoph Graupner: Recitativo Accompagnato: Vor Schmerz kann meine Brust
L'Ensemble des Idées heureuses, Ingrid Schmithüsen, soprano — Cantate, Sonate, Ouverture, vol. 2 (Analekta, 2003)
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Christoph Graupner: Aria: Birch, du stumme Tränensee
L'Ensemble des Idées heureuses, Ingrid Schmithüsen, soprano — Cantate, Sonate, Ouverture, vol. 2 (Analekta, 2003)
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Georg Friedrich Kauffmann: Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern
Martin Gester, organ; Randall Cook, baroque oboe — Fantasies et Chorales pour l'otgue avec le hautbois (ADDA, 1989)
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Georg Friedrich Kauffmann: Ach Gott vom Himmel sieh darein
Martin Gester, organ: Randall Cook, baroque oboe — Fantasies et Chorales pour l'otgue avec le hautbois (ADDA, 1989)
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Johann Sebastian Bach: Aria: Mein jesu, ziehe mich nach dir
Monteverdi Choir and Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner, dir. — Bach Cantatas, Vol. 21 (SDG, 2006)
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Johann Sebastian Bach: Recitativo: Mein jesu, ziehe mich
Monteverdi Choir and Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner, dir. — Bach Cantatas, Vol. 21 (SDG, 2006)
Buy from Amazon »
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Johann Sebastian Bach: Aria: Mein Alles in allem, mein ewiges Gut
Monteverdi Choir and Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner, dir. — Bach Cantatas, Vol 21 (SDG, 2006)
Buy from Amazon »
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Johann Sebastian Bach: Choral: Ertöt uns durch dein Güte
Monteverdi Choir and Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner, dir. — Bach Cantatas, Vol. 21 (SDG, 2006)
Buy from Amazon »
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Johann Sebastian Bach: Aria: Unser Mund und ton der Saiten
Monteverdi Choir and Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner, dir. — Bach Cantatas, Vol. 21 (SDG, 2006)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Johann Sebastian Bach: Choral: Wie bin ich doch so herzlich froh
Monteverdi Choir and Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner, dir. — Bach Cantatas, Vol. 21 (SDG, 2006)
Buy from Amazon »
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Bernard Gordillo

Bernard Gordillo was born in Managua, Nicaragua, and raised in New Orleans. He holds degrees from Centenary College of Louisiana, the Early Music Institute at Indiana University, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London). Bernard also writes and hosts the Harmonia Early Music Podcast.

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