Wolfgang-Andreas Schultz
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Variations on a Theme by J. S. Bach

In the piece “Variations on a Theme by J. S. Bach”, the theme (the Christmas Choral “Ich steh' an deiner Krippen hier” from “Schemelliís Musicalisches Gesangbuch” published in 1736) is interwoven with a net of numerous other themes and motives which affords telling a story from the life of Jesus in each variation.

The Introduction “Annunciation” depicts the scene of the Virgin Mary and the angel. The theme by Bach itself represents the birth of Jesus. Later the motif of the demon who also acts as tempter, the entire Christ-Theme after the baptism, and the motif ascribed to the – back then understood as female – Holy Spirit resp. to Sophia are found.

Thus the listener will find a forgotten Christian spiritual tradition in an encrypted form in the music.

The structure of the piece in detail:

 Introduction:

The Annunciation – Virgin Mary and the angel.

 Theme:

The birth of Jesus.

 Variation 1:

Virgin Mary goes to the temple with the child and meets the venerable Simeon.

 Variation 2:

Jesus prepares himself in silence and meditation for His mission.

 Variation 3:

The baptism in the River Jordan and the voice from heaven.

 Variation 4:

In the desert – the temptations.

 Variation 5:

The Transfiguration on Mount Tabor.

 Variation 6:

The healing of the possessed boy.

 Variation 7:

The anointing by Mary Magdalene.

 Variation 8:

At Mount Olivet – Jesus is in prayer for three times and in mortal fear.

 Variation 9:

The passion and the death of Jesus.

 Variation 10:

Our Lady of Pity – Virgin Mary with the corps of Jesus.

 Variation 11:

Entombment and lamentation, in the middle part a view on the Harrowing of Hell.

 Variation 12:

Easter Monday, the angel at the tomb and the epiphany of the Resurrected.

Composed 2016

Duration: ca. 24 minutes