J. S. Bach: Schlummert ein, ihr matten Augen

Written by Michael Barrett

Associate Artistic Director, NYFOS

In category: Song of the Day

Published March 23, 2020

This week we are reposting music by J. S. Bach shared by Michael Barrett a few years ago. This post original ran on September 18, 2017.

I’ve just completed a successful time at the 25th annual Moab Music Festival. It’s a big achievement which I am proud of. NYFOS is celebrating our 30th year starting next month, so this seems to be a big anniversary year for me. Moab and NYFOS have converged on many occasions, but never around the music of Bach. There are so many specialty groups now that specialize in early music, which includes Bach. At NYFOS I guess we feel that Bach is covered. You can hear him lots of places, and his music continues, rightfully so, to be recorded by every new artist that wants to climb that great musical mountain.

In Moab, baritone Jesse Blumberg sang my favorite aria of Bach’s in my favorite place to make music—a grotto 20 miles down the Colorado River. Musicians and patrons have to take a boat to get there, the silence is profound, the acoustics pure. I asked Jesse to sing this because Lorraine Hunt (pre-Lieberson) sang it there with me, and it has remained indelible in my memory. Here is Lorraine in that aria—“Schlummert Ein” from the Cantata “Ich habe Genug” on a fairly early recording. I think Lorraine got even more magical and dove even deeper in her music making toward the very end of her life, but this recording still captures her melding of her voice, text, and emotion in a way that was unique to her, and shall stay with me till my dying day.

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Michael Barrett is the co-founder and associate artistic director of New York Festival of Song, as well as the co-founder and music director of the Moab Music Festival in Utah. A conductor and a pianist, Michael was a protégé of Leonard Bernstein and serves as music advisor to the Leonard Bernstein Estate.


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