Johann Michael Bach (1648-1694) was JSB’s first cousin once-removed and, with his brother Johann Christoph, form the solar plexus of the 17th-century compositional craft which provided Johann Sebastian with the prime inspiration for his own vocal output. The style is generally highly rhetorical, concentrated and intense, often employing elaborate and rich instrumental textures (usually in 5 parts). Contemporaneously described as ‘quiet, reserved and artistically well-versed’, Johann Michael was the father to Johann Sebastian’s first wife, Maria Barbara.

Ach wie sehnlich wart’ ich der Zeit (Ah, how ardently I await the time when Thou wilt come, O Lord’) is a strophic funeral aria for a dolorous solo soprano, originally enveloped by a highly-wrought five-part string ensemble. In this arrangement, the main soprano melody is taken by the trumpet after an assuaging ornamental opening, shortly to unfold in this arrangement as a small variation ‘set’ – a free paraphrase of the original, leading in its four strophes to the final flourish on the words (if imagined in its new guise), ‘O Komm, O Komm, und hole mich!’ (‘O come, O come and fetch me!’). Playing on the switches between imploring vocalisation and instrumental presence lies at the heart of transforming a doleful solo motet into a commentary whose prevailing poignancy is given renewed optimism.

Parts included:

  • Trumpet in C
  • Piano

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