Sequence: Bach Cantatas for Sunday


As an artist, I love the idea of work made for a certain setting – installments in airports are meant to be viewed by the very tired, grand works are commissioned for a certain opera diva to sing, sculptures are built into a certain mountain.

About a year ago, I heard a concert of Cantatas by Bach.  Beautiful, rapturous things – short pieces meant to be sung by a church choir during Sunday services.  As the story goes, Bach got a gig writing choral works for the church, and churned out more than 200 in his lifetime, each written to be sung on a certain Sunday of the year. Of course, you can listen to it on the “wrong” day, but I like to think that by hearing it on the day it was written for, I am sharing something with the artist. Something small, maybe, like the way that the sunlight looks on a Sunday morning in February compared to the way it looks in a hot August morning.

The husband got me the boxed set for Christmas a few years ago.  It’s completely overwhelming – all of them in one place, ready to go.  So they’ve sat on the shelf, as I work myself into a tizzy about which Sunday is the “right” one to start on, whether or not it matters if I listen in the daytime or the evening. Crazy stuff. But you know how it goes – in the moment, this seems essential to The Art.

I think I’m over it. I think I’m ready to get started again, to put in the disc that has today’s cantata, to just listen, and love the moment it’s in.

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