“Secular Bach” – Secular cantatas and their performance venues

Konrad Hummler in discussion with Rudolf Lutz

If there is one matter that all musicians and music lovers can agree on, it is this: Bach is the greatest, most universal composer of all time. A consummate master with full command of the most diverse musical forms, from sacred to instrumental music and works with dramatic elements. Among his diverse oeuvre, Bach’s secular cantatas highlight the varied nature of his work, and they have proved an ongoing source of inspiration for the initiators of the J. S. Bach Foundation of St. Gallen, Konrad Hummler and Rudolf Lutz.

The performance venues for secular cantatas must be suited to the spirit of the music, a place where the comings and goings of the audience form part of the backdrop. For artistic director Rudolf Lutz and Foundation founder Konrad Hummler, it is essential that the venue offers both live and video audiences a great concert experience.

All venues for the secular cantatas performed by the Foundation to date were hand selected: the Einstein hall in St Gallen for the Wedding Cantata BWV 202, the Carmen Würth hall in Rorschach for the famous “Tönet, ihr Pauken!” (Sound all ye drums now! BVW 214), and the city hall of Gossau for the Hunt Cantata BWV 208.

For the Peasant Cantata, Konrad Hummler was inspired to hold the concert at the peak of the 2,300m high Chäserrugg mountain in the Swiss region of Toggenburg. In 2015, the old restaurant next to the cable-car station was replaced by a beautiful new building designed by Herzog & de Meuron. This unique location with sweeping panorama views was chosen as the setting for the Peasant Cantata BWV 212.

You will find the Peasant Cantata performance in full length as well as more information on the cantata here on Bachipedia.

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