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7 May 2016, 3pm
German Lutheran Trinity Church Schemelli Songbook & liturgical music of Weimar/Leipzig (with tenor, harpsichord and viola da gamba)

Venue details

German Lutheran Trinity Church, 22 Parliament Place, East Melbourne VIC 3002

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Program details

To what extent Bach was involved in the composition and publication of the so-called Schemelli's Songbook is hard to know for certain. A collection of 950 selected sacred Lieder and arias advertised in fair catalogues from Frankfurt and Leipzig  in 1736 – a comprehensive panoply of tunes, from old Lutheran pot-boiling chorales to effusive a la mode pietist 'arias' – represented a cradle-to-grave project administered from Zeitz Castle and edited by Georg Christian Schmelli the Music Director at the castle. Bach’s involvement centres around 69 chorales with figured bass, though how many he merely revised and how many he actually composed is still open to some debate. What can be ascertained, however, is that Bach's stamp is often marked indelibly on the most simple line. Even in pieces where his authorship is uncertain, the sentiment of the text is quietly irradiated by an unobtrusive and effortless poise: gracious bass-lines provide the individual assurance of the texts, joined by apt motivic and harmonic inflexions and well-timed suspensions. (From Bach Cantatata’s Website)

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About the performers

Robert Macfarlane (tenor, photo left) was born in Hamilton (Victoria, Australia) and is
 now residing in Leipzig as his ‘European headquarters’ pursuing
an exciting career in his genre extending beyond the music
 of J.S. Bach.
 Robert was invited to be part of last year’s ‘Weihnachts-
Oratorium’ and will return to Australia again in May. We are
 delighted our ‘Bach Ambassador’ agreed to assemble a tailor-
made program for this event.

If you are interested to read how Robert found his 'path' to Bach, read his reflections in our blog: Rock, than Baroque: 
My unorthodox journey to western music’s greatest composer
. Robert's website:

John O'Donnell (harpsicord, photo center), is an internationally renowned keyboard artist, choral conductor and musicologist. He currently is the Director of Ensemble Gombert and University Organist, Monash University. John was educated at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and later held senior appointment at the Victorian College of the Arts and the University of Melbourne. He is a leading authority in fortepiano, organ and harpsichord repertoire of 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

Laura Vaughan (viola da gamba, photo right) is a Melbourne-based viola da gamba specialist. Following her return from studies at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, she has established an active performing career encompassing a wide range of solo and chamber repertoire across Australasia. Laura records regularly for ABC Classic FM as a soloist and chamber musician and appears on numerous CD recordings.

Laura's website:

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