King’s Lynn Music Society


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7.30pm Wednesday 16th January 2019

Town Hall, King’s Lynn

Illustrated talk by Sandy Burnett

A raging serpent, a hellish dragon and God’s army of angels: Johann Sebastian Bach’s church cantatas


Sandy Burnett is one of the UK’s leading broadcasters in the field of classical music. After studying music at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge and working as music director for the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company and in London’s West End, Sandy spent a decade as one of the core team of music presenters on BBC Radio 3. As a practising musician, his activities include conducting, arranging and playing double bass in both classical and jazz environments. Sandy is the author of the Idler Guide to Classical Music, devises and leads cultural lecture holidays, is an accredited Arts Society lecturer, and has been appointed the Academy of Ancient Music’s Hogwood Fellow for the 2018-19 season.


Between 1997 and 2010 Sandy conducted a complete cycle of JS Bach’s surviving

sacred cantatas in West London, and revisits that memorable project in this illustrated talk. He discusses what it was like to get to know this extraordinary repertoire from the inside, and shows how the texts of the cantatas – drawn from the Bible or from traditional Lutheran hymns, or vivid verse created especially for the occasion – are given an extra spiritual dimension by Bach’s stunningly crafted music. This is repertoire which, from the intellectual, spiritual and musical points of view, is completely satisfying.