Buxtehude's Membra Jesu Nostri
According to legend, when Bach was 20 he walked more than 200 miles to meet Buxtehude, the most influential composer of his time.
Dating from 1680, Dietrich Buxtehude's Membra Jesu Nostri is a cycle of seven cantatas that successively contemplate different parts of the crucified Christ's body, starting with his pierced feet and ending with his face, bloodstained from the crown of thorns. Each corporal allusion in the text becomes the starting point for a meditation on a different aspect of Christian revelation, while the music glides from harmonic suspensions suggestive of great suffering to passages of timeless simplicity. Parts of it, notably the sections on Christ's knees and heart, also tip towards a Song-of-Songs-like sensuality.
This fabulous work will be preceded and followed by two motets, also by Buxtehude