Bury St Edmunds, St Edmundsbury Cathedral, 2021 New Year greetings – Johann Sebastian Bach, IOCO Aktuell,

St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmund © St Edmundsbury Cathedral / Ph Banks

St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmund © St Edmundsbury Cathedral / Ph Banks

2021 New Year greetings –  from St. Edmundsbury Cathedral, England

for IOCO – for the Marienbasilika of Kevelaer – for all Mankind

von Janet Banks (IOCO correspondent UK)

St Edmundsbury Cathedral, in the town of Bury St Edmunds (one of 42 Cathedrals in England) is in the heart of the East of England, and serves the English County of Suffolk, home to one of England’s major container ports (Felixstowe), not far from Cambridge. Our Cathedral in Bury St. Edmunds is proud to be linked as Partnerstadt / Twin Town with the German Marienbasilika of Our Lady in Kevelaer, and despite the current distress of Brexit we remain determined to maintain our good relationships with our European friends and families. The Cathedral h at Bury St Edmunds was built in 1539, and completed with the construction of the tower in 2000 as a millennium project, partly funded by the EU. Situated next to the Abbey of Saint Edmund (closed and destroyed during the English Protestant Reformation, which took place early in the 16th century under King Henry VIII) music is central to our life, and we have kept alive this strong musical heritage even during the pandemic: Choral Evensong (similar to Vespers in Germany) is sung on most days of the week, maintaining a prayerful link with the monastic Benedictine tradition of former years. This daily rhythm of prayer is the heartbeat of the Cathedral community here, as we welcome visitors and pilgrims from all over the world. During the Covid pandemic we have provided on-line a short musical reflection each day and the organ piece. In the following you will hear one of these reflections, a composition of Johann Sebastian Bach.

J S Bach : BWV 615 – Das alte Jahr vergangen ist, BWV 614 & In dir ist Freude
youtube Kanal – St Edmundsbury Cathedral
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Ben Banks and the Tower of London © Ben Banks

Ben Banks and the Tower of London © Ben Banks

Ben Banks, Organ Scholar in the University of Oxford and member of the Royal College of Organists, is playing for  IOCO Kultur Community and  the Marienbasilika of Kevelaer  the hymns  Das alte Jahr vergangen ist, BWV 614 & In dir ist Freude, BWV 615 at St. Edmunsbury Cathedral. Ben Banks performs on the organ of the Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds, in the grounds of the ancient Benedictine Abbey and Pilgrimage place of St Edmund. A flagship organ built in 2010 by Harrisons of Durham (one of England’s premier organ builders), it has four manuals, 59 speaking stops and over 3,500 pipes.

The New Year hymn, “Das alte Jahr vergangen ist,” (The old year now hath passed away) and „In dir ist Freude“ (In thee is gladness) are the texts for the two JS Bach Chorales for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Johann Sebastian Bach in Leipzig © IOCO - H Gallée

Johann Sebastian Bach in Leipzig © IOCO – H Gallée

Bachs New Year hymn, Das alte Jahr vergangen ist” (The old year now hath passed away) and „In dir ist Freude“ (In thee is gladness) are the texts for the two JS Bach Chorales for New Year’s Eve and New ,Year’s Day. The hymns are  taken from Johann Sebastian Bach´s Orgelbüchlein.

The Orgelbüchlein comprises a collection of forty-five chorales, BWV 599-644,  which Bach composed in the years 1712 to 1717.  During his second, almost ten year long employment from 1708 until 1717 in the service of the Weimar dukes, he worked as the court organist at the castle church, the so-called Himmelsburg, then castle of the count Wilhelm Ernst von Sachsen-Weimar (1662 – 1728).

In this second Weimar period Bach composed a large part of his organ oeuvre. With his promotion to Concert Master (Konzertmeister) in 1714, his very rich oeuvre of cantatas began to evolve, which later became an important foundation for his work in Leipzig as the Thomas Cantor. In Weimar over 30 cantatas were composed, along with many works for harpsichord solo (including the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue for example), but also early versions of the Brandenburg Concertos and parts of the epoch-making partitas for violin solo (e.g. the famous “Chaconne” from the Partita in D minor).

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As we reflect on the challenges and blessings of 2020, the strangest of covid-pandemic years, may we find strength, joy and peace in the year ahead. 
Performed on the organ of the Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds, the Cathedral of Suffolk in East Anglia, in the grounds of the ancient Benedictine Abbey and Pilgrimage place of St Edmund. A flagship organ built in 2010 by Harrisons of Durham (one of England’s premier organ builders), it has four manuals, 59 speaking stops and over 3,500 pipes.

Organ at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmund © St Edmundsbury Cathedral / Ph Banks

Organ at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmund © St Edmundsbury Cathedral / Ph Banks

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