My first memory of the very great soprano aria, "Die Seele ruht” (from BWV 127), was in a performance back in the early 90s at the Brooklyn Academy by Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. It was part of an extraordinary evening of Kurt Weill and Bach conceived by Emmanuel Music’s founding director Craig Smith and the director Peter Sellars. The Bach selections were all reorchestrated to include instruments not known in Bach's time; in this instance, vibes replacing the recorders. I simply couldn’t believe my ears.  It is a miraculous, freeze-frame moment in one of the most dramatic cantatas that Bach wrote: a moment of otherworldly repose, tinged with anxiety, before death (followed by a ferocious depiction of the last judgment). It struck me then as the greatest Bach aria I had ever heard and decades later, if pressed, I would say that my feelings have not changed.The first encounter of a great work of art is an enviable experience; I’ve taken great joy in introducing this aria to young musicians and music-lovers. After playing this cantata many times, I’m grateful to Ryan for this opportunity to lead it for the first time; a bucket-list experience if there ever was one!

Michael Beattie
Artistic Administrator and Guest Conductor