In early December the church calendar brings into close encounter The End of the World and The Coming of the Saviour. Bach’s Cantata 70 is a bulky, unruly often uncomfortable space embracing both.  

A person experiencing this piece for the first time might profit by tracking the solo Trumpet, at the outset repeatedly announcing the Day of Doom with a rigid, heartless little fanfare, the re-emerging late in the cantata during a dramatic final bass recitative, bringing a chorale ("The Time has certainly arrived”) seldom referenced by Bach, here promising something like reassurance, a new order.

John Harbison
Principal Guest Conductor