« Back

Brisbane Chamber Choir

The Resurrection And Ascension Of Jesus

C. P. E. Bach (1714–1788) / Text by Karl Wilhelm Ramler (1725–1798): Die Auferstehung und Himmelfahrt Jesu, WQ239, H777
St John’s Cathedral ·

Composed in 1774, this work received its first performance 18 March 1778 in
Hamburg. After the performance, Bach corresponded with the librettist, Karl
Wilhelm Ramler, for several years about revisions to both the text and the music.
The single soprano aria, “Wie bang”, was composed for the work in 1780 after
Bach received a new text for it. The first performance was well received, and more
followed. Ten years later, Mozart conducted three performances in Vienna.
Although based on the biblical account, the text is lyrical and like Bach’s music,
intensely emotional. The introduction, with the dark sound of the lower strings
in unison, sets up an extremely sombre mood. After this, the numbers generally al-
ternate between narrative recitatives, and arias or choruses depicting a wide range
of personal emotional reactions to the events of the story. Unlike the J. S. Bach
Passions, the singers in the Auferstehung do not represent any particular char-
acters from the Gospel story. The orchestra is quite large, comprising two flutes,
two oboes, bassoon, three trumpets, two horns, timpani and strings with harpsi-
chord continuo. However it is used sparingly and with considerable variety of tone
colour. The flutes appear only twice, in both cases at particularly poignant and
tender moments. These contrast greatly with the three brilliant and fully scored
“Triumph” choruses.
Notes by Michael O’Loghlin


Shelli Hulcombe | soprano
Gregory Massingham | tenor
Shaun Brown | bass
Brisbane Chamber Choir
Graeme Morton | Director
University of Queensland School of Music
Pulse Chamber Orchestra
Adam Chalabi | Concertmaster
Patrick Murphy | cello
Catherine Stirling | harpsichord
Michael O’Loghlin | conductor


Instrumental music