Our Music Director looks under the hood of Bach’s Coffee Cantata

Having now spent some weeks preparing and rehearsing Bach’s ‘Coffee Cantata’ I am keen to share some thoughts on the music.

Even though Bach never wrote an opera, this miniature gem comes as close as you would like! Within half an hour we have two arias each for a father and daughter, recitatives for both, framing recits for a tenor narrator, culminating in a joyous trio for all three.

Interestingly, Bach mixed quite conventional, happy, even cheeky arias (father’s “What we have with all our children” and daughter’s “O happy day”) with unusual, slightly challenging arias. Daughter’s “Ah how sweet this coffee tastes to me” features a languorous, twisting vocal line with a solo flute part which suggests some sort of exotic ulterior motive going on in her subconscious. All very beautiful, of course! Father’s “Daughters deaf to sense and reason” outlines his frustration with her recalcitrance while a solo cello seems to suggest his own inner doubts with unusual, jagged and harmonically awkward intervals.

As always, Bach provides us with an intriguing mix of styles – a soprano, a tenor and a bass accompanied by string quartet, flute and harpsichord. I’m looking forward to discovering more as we get closer to performance time!

Peter Alexander, Music Director, Endangered Productions 

Tickets available for our fundraiser performance on Sunday 5 April 5-7 pm.

For more details click here