18 June 2021
One Thousand Roads was written for the opening concert of the Bachfestival Dordrecht, with the festival theme ‘travelling’ in mind. Bach himself did not travel much. Except for his hike to hear Buxtehude play, he was pretty much a stay-at-home kind of guy. Unlike his peer Handel, who went to England and made a flourishing living there as a free artist, Bach always remained in the service of the church.
This does not alter the fact that Bach travelled in his music: he knew the music of his contemporaries well and used, cited and processed it in his own work. You could say that Bach travelled by appropriating the music of others. Bach not only traveled horizontally in his music but also vertically, into heaven. In the course of the last century, we have come to regard Bach himself almost as a saint.
One Thousand Roads is all about that horizontal and vertical roaming. It's about the thousand different reasons to travel, about Bach's foot journey to Buxethude and the account of his rebuke by the consistory. And ultimately it’s about the last journey everyone makes.
The lyrics were taken from Google (Travel), the proceedings of the Arnstadt consistory (Rebuke) and from some Bach cantatas (Prayer). Chorale is based upon one of Bach’s many chorales that use the melody O Welt, Ich Muß dich lassen.
Premiere by Claron McFadden, B'Rock Orchestra and Klang, Friday, June 25, Buitenpodium Energieplein, Dordrecht