Bach’s rich musical legacy as we know it today is partly the result of a historical accident. When he applied for the position of Kantor at Leipzig’s Thomaskirche in 1722, Bach was only third choice for the post. Telemann turned the offer down after some deliberation and Graupner was not released from his post of Kapellmeister in Hesse. ‘Since we cannot get the best, then we will have to settle for average’, the Council concluded, as it handed the title to Bach. Join us as we step back in time and explore the programme that Bach put together for this fateful application, a move that would shape the history of western music for centuries to come.
When Handel’s Messiah was first unveiled to the public in 1742, it caused a sensation. Dublin’s Musick Hall was so full that the men attended ‘without swords’ and the ladies were asked to wear skirts ‘without hoops’ to make room for more listeners. The press declared a triumph: ‘The Sublime, the Grand, and the Tender… conspired to transport and charm the ravished Heart and Ear.’ More than 250 years on, it still holds a remarkable place in the repertoire, its ability to delight and enthral virtually unparalleled, its powerful choruses and exquisite solo writing together creating a score that is as fresh and inspiring as ever.