I had dinner with a group of friends at a Turkish restaurant last evening. One in our group, during our entire, leisurely meal, was anxiously awaiting ordering coffee –- real, Turkish coffee –- to go with dessert.
When her coffee finally arrived, I noted that a Bach harpsichord concerto was being broadcast via the overhead music system. It was at that moment that I knew what I would share in this space today: the beautiful video of a staged performance of Bach’s Cantata 211, "Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht" ("Kaffeekantate"). It features the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir, conducted by Ton Koopman. The soprano soloist is Anne Grimm.
This cantata, really a miniature comic opera, was probably first performed in 1734 or 1735 at Zimmermann’s coffee house in Leipzig. Bach and his librettist, Picander, tell the story of a young woman addicted to coffee. One of my favorite lines is, “If I couldn't, three times a day, be allowed to drink my little cup of coffee, in my anguish I will turn into a shriveled-up roast goat." And, of course, I love the fact that Bach wrote a generous flute part!
Ah! How sweet coffee tastes! Enjoy watching and listening here.