Wach auf mein Geist
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|Wach auf mein Geist
© ℗ 2007 by K&K Verlagsanstalt
Klaus Mertens, bass baritone
Simone Eckert, descant and bass viola da gamba
Ulrich Wedemeier, theorbo
The Hundert ahnmutig und sonderbar Geistliche Arien (One hundred charming and especially religious airs), printed in Dresden in 1694, tell of the breath of God as symbolized by the winds Africus and Caurus and of “the silken soft West that leaves its kisses on the roses.” This collection is an appendix to the Dresden Gesangbuch and appeared 18 years after the latter; its editor, the composer Christoph Bernhard, did not live to see it in print.
The songs were not meant to be sung by the parish congregation – a delicate subject anyway during the tense times of Augustus the Strong’s conversion to Catholicism. They were for the private Protestant religious services of the other members of the Royal Family. The melodies are more elaborate than those usual in other ecclesiastical music of the time, the bass parts are highly imaginative and the individual ritornellos are remarkable.
There is another collection of 17th century songs that is dedicated to the same theme – Johann Rist’s Himlische Lieder printed in Luneburg in 1641 or 1642 and set to music by Johann Schop, the Hamburg City Rath (or Council) musician. Both men were friends of Christoph Bernhard, who used his connections as a favourite pupil of Heinrich Schutzen to arrange for them to meet the famous Kapellmeister on his journey up to Copenhagen.