The Day of Judgment

Dame Jane Glover, conductor


The Day of Judgment

The concert season closes with Music of the Baroque's first performances in 25 years of Georg Philipp Telemann's powerful oratorio The Day of Judgment. From the opening call of the trumpet, through earthquakes, thunder, and devastation, to the final celestial chorus at the gates of heaven, this vivid work makes for a truly gripping evening of musical story-telling.

Preconcert lectures will take place on Sunday at 6:30 pm (Athens Room, DoubleTree Hotel) and Monday at 6 pm (Chicago Cultural Center) and will be given by Jennifer More.

Media sponsor: 98.7WFMT

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Music of the Baroque Chorus and Orchestra

  • Die Erste Betrachtung / The First Contemplation
  • Die Zweite Betrachtung / The Second Contemplation
  • Die Dritte Betrachtung / The Third Contemplation
  • Die Vierte Betrachtung / The Fourth Contemplation



Is Judgment Day near?
A Chorus of Believers announces the day of reckoning, confident they are destined for heaven. Disbelief scoffs, saying the world is still standing despite millions of years of peril, but undermines the assertion that that "all remains as it was." Reason silences Disbelief, harnessing thunder and lightning to demonstrate that change happens all the time. The Chorus of Believers praise God ebulliently, while blasphemers howl in descending chromatic lines.


Earth is thrown into chaos
Storms arrive in the chorus "Es rauscht." Devotion describes the "signs of devastation" as flames destroy the earth, stars disappear, and the moon abandons its course. The mood shifts drastically as lightning consumes the earth and "fierce flames crackle" in an almost comic tone, illustrating that the devoted are impervious to a bad outcome. Faith wins in the concluding arioso "Ich aber schwinge," in which a heavenly angel choir rejoices in high strings and a chorale-like ending.


Jesus arrives
Devotion announces Jesus's arrival and coffins open to the sound of the horn. The Archangel introduces Jesus, and Devotion describes the scene--Jesus on a golden throne, clothed in heavenly armor. As the trombones sound and thunder roars, the judgment begins. Jesus arrives, reassuring his believers. The Believers thank the Lord, while the Blasphemers cry for help. Jesus damns the nonbelievers as the third part ends.


Ascension to Heaven
A choir of angels sings praise to the Lord in jubilant music. Expressive arias in which believers and John the Baptist praise God alternate with simple, yet dramatic repetitions of the chorale, "Heilig ins unser Gott" (Holy is our God). Mighty choruses praise the Lord and celebrate what has come to pass.