Part 1 - The Church Cantata in Baroque Leipzig: Two illustrated presentations by Bach specialists Stephen Rose and Bettina Varwig, exploring the eighteenth-century contexts of Bach’s sacred music. The first presentation traces how Bach and his contemporaries modelled their church cantatas on Baroque operas. The second presentation reconstructs the experiences of the churchgoers who listened to Bach’s cantatas in Leipzig. Far from being accepted in his lifetime as masterworks, Bach’s sacred compositions often aroused criticism from their early audiences. Part 2 - Bach and the Chorale: The hymn-tunes known as chorales are the cornerstone of Lutheran music, including Bach’s sacred cantatas. With sung demonstrations by students from Royal Holloway, Stephen Rose explores the riches of the chorale tradition. Many of these melodies originated as protest songs in the religious upheavals of the sixteenth century. Two centuries later, they provided Bach with inspiration for his church cantatas and organ works, as well as stimulating his harmonic ingenuity.