Bach Cantate during Divine Service at St John's Southgate this Sunday

There are not many places in the world where you can hear a Bach Cantata sung in the context for which they were originally intended, namely in connection with the Service of the Word in the Lutheran Sunday liturgy, but St John’s Lutheran Church in Southgate (Melbourne) is one of them.

And this Sunday, 22 November at 9am, in addition, you will hear it done in the context of a Bach Mass! And all for free!


1) BWV 235 Mass in G minor (one of the 4 Lutheran Masses)
2) BWV 26 Ach wie flüchtig, ach wie nichtig (“Ah! how weary, ah! how fleeting”)
3) …and as a bonus, the Sanctus from BWV 325

St Johns Lutheran Church, Southgate
Nov 22 9am

Maddy’s godfather, David Goedecke, a long time friend of mine, is singing in the choir. We wish them all the best.

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6 Responses to Bach Cantate during Divine Service at St John's Southgate this Sunday

  1. Joshua says:

    While doing a course in church music, I attended a service of Vespers with Cantata there.

    What a pity the old St John’s was sold off, for the new building is really rather modern and ugly.

    The service I found strange – the pastor (an American!) read not one but three readings, one after the other, before preaching.

    As for Cantata, it was right marvellously sung, but appeared plonked in the middle of a service that was otherwise rather plain.


  2. I’d love to be there, but my first thought on hearing this was “How are they going to integrate the Cantata into the service not only functionally and liturgically but also in terms of style, for want of a better word, so that it “makes sense” and is unified? Joshua’s comment on his previous experience confirms my concerns. Nonetheless, I commend this attempt to retrieve an important Lutheran tradition. Perhaps we could have a report on how it goes?

  3. Exy says:

    Hi David

    I have had the pleasure of singing at several Lutheran Kantaten Gottesdienste in Germany and I really enjoy it very much, especially the aim of a Kantaten Gottesdienst that everything in the service is related to the reading: The music and text, the sermon & prayers. It really is a gesamt Konzept: a complete concept in the liturgy. Even in his Kreuzstab Kantate/Crossstaff Cantata he composed the figure of a cross into the work.

    2 excellent books on the liturgical music of Bach in relation to the Lutheran Liturgy are:

    J.S. Bach- Die Kantaten by Alfred Dürr and J.S. Bach Leben und Werk (Life and Work) by Friedmann Otterbach.

    Currently I am revising his Christmas Oratorio and the arias for bass voice in the St Matthew Passion for concerts coming up and it is simply nourishment for the voice, the mind and soul. I am particularly looking forward to the St M Passion scheduled for next Good Friday.

    I can’t imagine life without JSB’s sacred music and I believe his music simply transcends the division between the denominations and indeed gets to the heart of the matter of the Christian Faith and our personal response to Jesus Christ.


    • Weedon says:

      Oh, I wish I could hear it! Yes, a completely unified liturgy: all united by the Gospel assigned for the day. Wonderful stuff. I’ve been extolling on my blog the virtues of the Praetorius Mass for Christmas Day. If one wants to understand the evangelische Ansatz (as Elert terms it) one cannot do better than to immerse one’s self in this explosion of praise and glorification of God. The Gloria from that service, or the In Dulci at the end, or the communion motets. All glorious!

  4. Joshua says:

    I have a very pleasing CD of the Praetorius Christmette – it really is great.

  5. Joshua says:

    If anyone is interested, the music is performed by the Gabrieli Consort and Players, and the CD (Archiv Produktion, from Deutsche Grammophon) number is 439 931-2.

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