Paul Hillier and Chamber Choir Ireland Launch Bach Motet Series

Paul Hillier

Paul Hillier and Chamber Choir Ireland Launch Bach Motet Series

10-concert series between now and next June to feature complete Bach motets as well as works by Julia Wolfe, David Fennessy, Anne Boyd and Sven-David Sandström.

Beginning in Kilkenny tomorrow (Saturday 18 August), conductor Paul Hillier and Chamber Choir Ireland will commence a series of concerts focussing on the complete Bach motets. The series will run from now until the summer of 2019.

Titled ’Before Bach and After I–IV’, the concerts will combine Bach’s works with choral music from composers of other epochs, such as Palestrina, Brahms, David Fennessy, Julia Wolfe, Anne Boyd and Sven-David Sandström.

‘We’re going to be performing the [Bach] motets with just an organ and a bass,’ says Paul Hillier. ’As far as the Baroque era is concerned this is what unaccompanied choral music consists of.’

Old Bach archive
The first programme consists of music from a collection called the ‘old Bach archive’ that was possibly made by Bach, his father, or one of his extended family. 
‘It contains music that they could use in church services – they didn’t only perform their own music,’ says Hillier, ‘and also of course compositions that they liked – which they found interesting to study.’

The first piece in the programme is from the Missa Brevis by Palestrina, which ‘exists in what I could call an edition by Johann Sebastian. There’s not a great deal of change from the original but he has kind of adjusted it to his own aesthetic ideas.’

Also being performed in the first programme – which will travel to St Thomas’s Church in Belfast on 8 September and St Ann’s Church in Dublin on 9 September – are works by Sebastian Knüpfer (1633–1676) and Heinrich Isaac (c. 1450–1517).

After Bach
The ‘After Bach’ aspect in the first programme consists of two motets by Johannes Brahms. Brahms, adds Hiller, was

a choral conductor in the early part of his career, which is why perhaps he wrote motets and part songs for choirs to sing. In particular, the motets are very fine pieces. They clearly show the strong influence of Bach himself.

The second programme – ‘Before Bach and After II’ – will consist of two concerts in Kilkenny and Dublin in November, followed by ‘Before Bach and After III’ next February and May in Limerick, Dublin and Cork, and then programme four in June 2019 in Kilkenny and Dublin.

See full details of all four programmes below. For further details, visit

Read our recent reviews of Chamber Choir Ireland here and here.

Before Bach and After : I
Missa Brevis: Kyrie & Gloria – Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
Erforsche mich – Sebastian Knüpfer
Innsbruck ich muss dich lassen – Heinrich Isaac
Two Motets Op. 29 – Johannes Brahms 
Nun ruhen alle Wälder – Isaac/J.S. Bach
Jesu meine FreudeJ.S. Bach

St Canice’s RC Church, Kilkenny – 18 August 2018, 10pm
St Thomas’s Church, Eglantine Avenue, Belfast – 8 September 2018, 7:30pm
St Ann’s Church, Dawson Street, Dublin, 9 September 2018, 3:30pm

Before Bach and After : II
Fürchte dich nicht – J.S. Bach
Letter to Michael  – David Fennessy
Robins m’aime—Mout me fu gries – Adam de la Halle
Veni creator—Christe qui lux es – Guillaume de Machaut
Nuper rosarum – Guillaume Dufay
Ne Reminiscaris – David Fennessy
Ich lasse dich nicht – J.S. Bach
New Work – David Fennessy 
Jauchzet dem HerrnJ.S. Bach & Georg Telemann

St Canice’s RC Church, Kilkenny – 16 November 2018, 7:30pm
St Ann’s Church, Dawson Street, Dublin 2 – 17 November 2018,  8pm

Before Bach and After : III
Komm Jesu komm  – J.S. Bach
As I crossed a bridge of dreams – Anne Boyd
Fuga V  – J.S. Bach
Guard my tongue – Julia Wolfe
Zion hört die Wächter singen  – J.S. Bach
Horo Horo Hata Hata – Santa Ratniece
Lobet dem Herrn – J.S. Bach

St Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick – 2 May 2019, 8pm
St Ann’s Church, Dawson St, Dublin – 3 February 2019, 3:30pm
St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork – 3 May 2019, 7:30pm

Before Bach and After : IV
Four motets from Geistliche Chormusik, 1648 – Heinrich Schütz
Der Geist hilft  – J. S. Bach
Two Motets Op. 74 – Johannes Brahms
Es ist genug – J. S. Bach
Es ist genug – Sven-David Sandström
Singet dem Herrn  – J. S. Bach

St Canice’s RC Church, Kilkenny – 14 June 2019, 7:30pm
St Ann’s Church, Dublin – 15 June 2019, 7pm

This news item is supported by Chamber Choir Ireland.


Published on 17 August 2018

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