Robert L. Edwards, Conductor, Consultant, Photographer

J.S. Bach:  MAGNIFICAT IN D MAJOR  1730 — BWV 243

Bach Magnificat CD cover

In 1723, Bach wrote a setting of the Magnificat text for Christmas, and incorporated additional appropriate seasonal texts. About seven years later, between 1730 and 1732, Bach recast the work to expand it's usefulness. He dropped the key down to D Major – eliminating the rarely available E-Flat trumpets – omitted the Christmas texts so it could be performed at Easter and Pentecost (the other traditional times for a "Magnificat" performance), and replaced recorders with flutes to cut through the dense texture and better balance the colorful German oboes and D trumpets.

This major revision left only about 40 measures untouched. The result is among Bach's finer and more extrovert works, joyfully utilizing the Baroque effect of colorful word painting.

Excerpt from Magnificat “Omnes generationes”
 - Live Performance
Scranton Singers’ Guild - Greater Hazleton Oratorio Society
Sinfonia da camera, Robert L. Edwards - 1982 

Bach portrait

This portrait, a pastel by Meiningen, is likely a more accurate representation of how J.S.Bach actually looked.

The Leipzig church, Thomaskirke, where Bach spent the last third of his life, and where the Magnificat was first performed, is still in active use. A newly built second organ (based on a Bach design) is featured in regular concerts.

Thomaskirke interior Thomaskirke new orgel Thomaskirke pulpit

In order to provide permanent documentation of the important sociological and musical contributions of the Greater Hazleton Oratorio Society, Singers’ Guild of Scranton and Sinfonia da Camera to the lives of residents in Northeastern Pennsylvania, some of the 1977-1986 live performance analog recordings of these community groups were rescued, restored, and converted to a digital format. Those restorations and the performance excerpts that appear on this website are intended as historical documents not as an entertainment product. The copying or dissemination of these excerpts is strictly prohibited.

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