The Osterkantate (Easter Cantata)
by Ernst Wilhelm Wolf
Edited by David Blum and Nola Reed Knouse
Bach Festival Singers
Rollins College Singers
Bach Festival Orchestra
John V. Sinclair, conductor
The Easter Cantata was composed by Ernst Wilhelm Wolf (1735-1791) in Weimar, Germany, in the early 1780s based on a libretto by Johann Gottfried Herder. Ernst Wilhelm Wolf was born in Grossen Behringen, Germany in 1735. He attended schools in Eisenach and Gotha, and in 1755, at the age of 20, he attended the University of Jena, where he led the collegium musicum at Jena. Wolf arrived at Weimar in the late 1750s or 1760, to serve as a music teacher and Konzertmeister, Organist, and Kapellmeister.
Librettist Johann Gottfried Herder was born in the small city of Mohrungen in East Prussia on August 25, 1744. In 1771 he became Chief Pastor at Bückeburg, where he befriended Countess Maria, who had been schooled in Herrnhut; perhaps it was through her that Herder became acquainted with Zinzendorf and the hymns of the Moravians. Herder wrote the text of the Easter Cantata in 1781, and the Breitkopf edition of Wolf’s musical setting was published in 1782.
The Easter Cantata
The libretto of the Easter Cantata includes numerous citations from the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, woven together with hymn texts by others and original poetry. In his use of scripture Herder sometimes quotes the Luther Bible literally, and in other cases he adapts the text to fit his narrative.
Mary Wilson, soprano; Amanda Schumpert, soprano; Julie Batman, soprano; Glenn Siebert, tenor; Keith Alexander Bolves, tenor; Matthew K. Begale, bass; Peter Kubath, continuo
Bach Festival Chamber Orchestra
Conductor Dr. John V. Sinclair has been the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park since 1990. Dr. Sinclair conducts the Walt Disney World Candlelight Processional at EPCOT, directs Moravian Music Festivals, Messiah Choral Society, and participates in recording projects for Warner Brothers and the Walt Disney Corporation. Dr. Sinclair is the Director of Music for Rollins College. The choir includes members of the Bach Festival Choir of Winter Park and students and faculty of Rollins College.
Recorded May 17-19, 2015, in the John M. Tiedtke Concert Hall, Department of Music, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida. Engineer: Kendall Thomsen. Producer: Gwyneth A. Michel. This project is made possible through the John M. Tiedtke Endowed Chair Fund. Further funding was provided in memory of Wilson and Shirley Edwards by their children Patsy Saunders, Carol King, and Wilson Edwards, Jr., through the Duke Willard Fund for Recording of the Moravian Music Foundation.
Cover: Tiffany window, created in 1929, in the Rollins College Knowles Memorial Chapel. Part of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum collection; photo by Scott Cook.