I don’t come from a classical music background, so classical music has always felt intimidating to me. Listening to Bach’s BWV 140, I can’t help but put a smile on my face. The bouncing strings layered with the somewhat overlapping vocals reminds me of Georges Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”; an image of a grand park bustling with people enjoying a sunny afternoon. There’s a moment in the cantata when singers start to overlap with one another in an almost conversational way that really brings the scene to life!
Pieces like BWV 140 bring a sense of joy and lightness that feels disparate from the image of what classical music should be in my mind. I associate a stiffness and an otherness that was entirely missing in this cantata. While listening I felt I was invited into the masses of people in that park to enjoy the sun on my face and catch up on the latest news with a friend—a universal feeling of community.