A Bit of Bach for the Purification of Mary

    A blessed feast of the Presentation, also called Candlemas, celebrating the dedication of the child Jesus in the Temple, the Purification of Our Lady after her childbirth, and the beginning of Christ’s mission as a light unto the Gentiles, the salvation of the whole human race. For some musical devotion, I would highly recommend two cantatas written by Bach,  and , both composed to celebrate the feast.  The Lutherans, after their divergence from Catholicism, kept a strong devotion to Our Lady, and Bach himself composed much in honour of the Mother of God.

    The first is Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin (With Peace and Joy I Now Depart), composed and performed in 1725 for the feast of the Purification, or Candlemas, with the text based on a 1525 hymn by Martin Luther. One thing about the ‘Lutherans’ (who were not called such in the time of their founder)

    The second is Ich habe genug (‘I have enough’ – or, ‘I am content’) was published in 1727, for the same feast, with part of the music appearing in the Anna Magdalena Notebook. And note the exquisite haunting melody of the strings and winds intertwining in the opening movement, before the bass joins in: