The December edition of our series brings together one of Bach’s sublime Advent cantatas with a talk from guest speaker Jon Culshaw – impressionist, comedian and actor.
Ärgre dich, o Seele, nicht (Do not be confounded, o soul), BWV 186a, was first performed in Weimar in December 1716. Although Bach expanded it (as BWV 186) after his move to Leipzig (to be performed earlier in the year as music was not allowed in Leipzig during Advent), the ‘original’ still gloriously contains no less than four arias.
Jon Culshaw has a deep connection to music and previously applied his inimitable skills in playing the iconic David Bowie for a BBC World Service radio drama, and is also a lifelong astronomy enthusiast with his repertoire of impressions notably including the great Patrick Moore. Here he will share with us his love for the night sky and the inspiration he has taken from it.
Widely regarded as Britain’s best impressionist with an unmatched versatility and a catalogue of over 350 voices and impersonations, Jon’s notable credits include the multi award winning BBC Radio 4 satire Dead Ringers, Spitting Image, Radio 4’s The Secret World, The Impressionable Jon Culshaw, The Royal Variety Performance, The Sky at Night, 2DTV, The Now Show, Head Cases, Jon Culshaw’s Commercial Breakdown and The Impressions Show. Jon also performed at the iconic Edinburgh Festival in 2022 in Les Dawson: Flying High to rave reviews and subsequently toured the country, and at this year’s Festival he reprised his role as Hughie Green in LENA and starred in his new one-man show Jon Culshaw: Imposter Syndrome. Recently, Jon played Boris Johnson in Channel 4 drama Partygate.
“Yet eternity will come, which is full of all joy”
(from the closing chorale of Ärgre dich, o Seele, nicht)
Bach, the Universe and Everything is our concert series with a difference. Guided by the work of JS Bach, composer and intergalactic genius, our mission is to explore the human desire to better understand our place in the cosmos through his 200 cantatas. Each concert is built around a Bach cantata and a talk from a guest scientific speaker, alongside choral and instrumental music by other baroque and renaissance composers.
Series music director: Steven Devine