Bach's choral works have appeared in many films - a medium designed to reach large, worlwide audiences. For example, the closing chorus of The St Matthew Passion[/i]
has appeared in such films as George Lucas's [i]THX 1138 and Martin Scorsese's Casino
. The famous aria, Erbarme dich, mein Gott
, opened and closed Andrei Tarkovsky's film The Sacrifice.
Most recently, I was most pleasantly surprised to hear the opening chorus of Cantata 140
in The Life Aquatic
I don't think most classical music lovers in the US care that much about the distinction between the "sacred" and the "secular" in music. Bach's choral works are all in German anyway and thus the "proselytizing" is further removed. They just enjoy the beautiful music.
The frequency with which one may hear Bach's choral works performed live, sacred and secular alike, may depend on where you live. I remember during the 8 years I lived in San Francisco, I got to attend plenty
of Bach cantata concerts. The San Francisco-Bay Area has many local and visiting Baroque/Early Music ensembles, and most of these concerts took place in churches located in quiet neighborhoods amidst the Arts-&-Crafts-style homes in Berkeley.