The Bach and Martin are choral masterpieces of the highest order; their depth and scope is so vast that our culture may never exceed their level of beauty and sophistication.
Fürchte dich nicht is one of four double-choir motets by Johann Sebastian Bach, and while not quite as technically challenging as Bach’s Singet dem Herrn, is its artistic equal.
In recent rehearsals, I identified the inner sections of the work: prelude & fugue, cascade, conclusion, reprise, extended soli sections—all to give you (both singer and listener) an understanding of the design of the motet. I want you both to understand how Bach’s musical mind works, to give you a peak at genius, to help you become intimate with true greatness. Yes, Bach’s melody and harmony is unparalleled, but it is his architecture which sets his music above others.
While I have conducted Fürchte dich nicht several times, I feel like I am gaining a better understanding of the work, that I am discovering Bach’s innermost thoughts as I help you listen to and sing the motet for (perhaps) the first time. So, while you are focusing on the notes and German, I am teaching the musical structure and the deeper meaning of the verse from Isaiah 43:
Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name;
you are mine.
With the world on the brink of war, there cannot be a more timely and reassuring word from God.
Paul W. Wiens, conductor