IMF Kutná Hora 2017

Friday / August 27 / 8:30 p.m. / Corpus Christi Chapel

CANTATA / Johann Sebastian Bach & Arnošt Lustig


Arnošt Lustig – Epic Poem “Cantata – Dance of the Insane”

Johann Sebastian Bach – Cantata “Ich habe genug“, BWV 82

Vilma Cibulková, Jiří Lábus, Vilém Udatný – recitation
Jaromír Nosek – bass, Vilém Veverka – oboe, Barocco sempre giovane
Eva Lustigová – director

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One of the most beautiful cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), Ich habe genug, BWV 82, was written for the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on 2 February, which is also known as Candlemas, or the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus. It marks the day when he was brought to the Temple in Jerusalem to be redeemed by the parents´ sacrifice from his birth-state of sanctity. In the Temple, they met Simeon and the prophetess Anna, an encounter during which the former prophesied that the child will bring light for revelation of  the Gentiles and glory for the people of Israel. This is likewise embedded in the message of this Bach cantata. The translation of its title, “I am Content”, corresponds with Simeon´s state of mind as, holding on his arms the future Saviour, he sees his lifelong hopes fulfilled. Thus also the words, “Ich freue mich auf meinem Tod” (I look forward to my death) convey the feeling of a Christian for whom death equals “süßen Friede, stille Ruh“, sweet peace, calm repose. In setting the text by an anonymous poet, Bach conjured a piece of music defined by beautiful melodies and elaborate orchestral accompaniment with solo oboe part.

Here tonight, this music by the German Protestant composer, written almost three centuries ago, alternates with verse by the Czech Jewish author, journalist and script writer, Arnošt Lustig (1926-2011). Lustig´s books, drawing largely on his own devastating personal experience as a prisoner in the Nazi concentration camps of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, including the novels Diamonds of the Night, Dita Saxová, or A Prayer for Kateřina Horovitzová, have met with worldwide acclaim, and have continued to reveal to their readers the innermost feelings of individuals faced with situations of extreme adversity. This music and spoken word production was directed by Lustig´s daughter, Eva. The text, previously unpublished, is inspired by the script for the American film The Precious Legacy (1984), on which Lustig collaborated. The screen story is centered around the fate of Jewish families´ personal belongings confiscated by the Nazis, a core subject which the author elaborated in a free-verse poem in which three characters embody the souls of deceased persons.

sleeve-note: Dita Hradecká / translation: Ivan Vomáčka