The lament, Ach, dass ich Wassers gnug hätte, by Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1703). Live, 4K ultra HD video from the Voices of Music “Art of the Countertenor” concert, March, 2016; Christopher Lowrey, countertenor.
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One of the most complex and beautiful works of the 17th century; the motet is scored in dense, dark counterpoint with a soaring, declamatory vocal line which intertwines with the solo violin part. The rich texture of the strings is leavened with exclamatory moments in which the strings echo the voice as a group; in this fashion, the strings temporarily assume the role of the chorus: this call-and-response style was customary in settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah, following a tradition which dates back to the time of Thomas Tallis in the renaissance.
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For this performance, a new edition was prepared from the original manuscript in the Düben collection, which is one of the most important collections of German music in Europe. The Düben family was part of the inner circle of the royal family of Sweden.
Lamento: Ach, daß ich Wassers gnug hätte
Ach, daß ich Wassers gnug hätte in meinem Haupte,
und meine Augen Tränenquellen wären,
daß ich Tag und Nacht
beweinen könnte meine Sünde.
Meine Sünden gehen über mein Haupt,
wie eine schwere Last
sind sie mir zu schwer worden,
darum weine ich so,
und meine beiden Augen fliessen mit Wasser,
meines Seufzens ist viel,
und mein Herz ist betrübet,
denn der Herr hat mich voll Jammers gemacht,
am Tage seines grimmigen Zorns.
O, that I had water enough in my head
and my eyes were wells of tears,
so that night and day
I could lament my sins.
My sins overwhelm me;
Like a heavy burden,
they have become too painful
and so I weep,
and my eyes flow with water.
My sighs are many;
my heart is afflicted:
Thus the Lord has made me full of lamentations in this day of his terrible wrath.
—text from the Psalms and the
Lamentations of Jeremiah
©2016 Voices of Music