Cantata singers and Emmanuel’s music: choral catching up


Bach Now with Emmanuel Music: This Sunday, during the regular service at 10 a.m., Emmanuel Music kicks off its 50e-Annual Bach Cantata Series at Emmanuel Church, Boston (HERE ) with Bach’s Cantata n ° 72, “Alles nur nach Gottes Willen” and the heartbreaking Hear my prayer. The complete program of the 36 performances, with the program notes and the precise and thoughtful translations of Pamela Dellal’s cantata has just been published. HERE. Three-season highlights draw outside Bach’s sacred music: Elena Ruehr’s new Requiem on November 7h (commissioned by Emmanuel in 2020), the 1994 Choral Cantata by guest principal conductor John Harbison, March 6e, and the 2014 commission from James Primosch for the excellent professional choir of Philadelphia The passage (directed by Donald Nally). Primosch follows a tradition made popular by Britten is this new mass for the day of Saint Thomas Didyma, weaving together texts from Latin masses and contemporary poems by Denise Levertov (see notes HERE and full texts HERE).

Ryan Turner, who sang under the direction of founding director Emmanuel Craig Smith from 1997 to 2007, continues his successful tenure as the organization’s second musical director (historic HERE). Sunday services will continue to be broadcast live under the direction of Emmanuel Music’s newest executive director, Jaclyn Dentino (bio HERE).

Bach then

Emmanuel Music’s founding director Craig Smith called Bach’s Cantata No. 72 “one of the great works of bravery of Bach’s Weimar era.” It opens with a brilliant and fiery choir of great richness for both singers and instrumentalists. Pamela Dellal, viola recitalist and local Bach specialist, continues: “’Alles nur nach Gottes Willen’ is not from a choral text, but from an original libretto by Salomo Franck. Franck was a very talented librettist who was also the head of the Weimar Mint; many of Weimar’s best Bach cantatas are composed to texts by Franck. A striking feature of the libretto is the “litany” – a short, repeated phrase that gains conviction and intensity through repetition. The litany is associated with contrasting ideas – joy and sorrow, clouds and sun, good and bad – emphasizing the feeling that the faithful believer should never stray from his sole task of trusting God completely. Read his full notes on the cantata HERE.

Bach probably composed the first version of this cantata in 1715 in Weimar and revised it for the larger choir of St. Thomas Church in Leipzig in 1724. It opens with a raging storm filled with runaway lightning trying to submerge a ringing bell represented by the lower instruments; the storm subsides, revealing a lyrical and contrapuntal representation of floating clouds. The following one-of-a-kind multidimensional arizo for viola is unique among Bach’s solo writing: the recitatives evolve, the harmonies change, and the repeating chime of the anaphoric litany text underscores the resolve of the faithful. After a magnificent contrapuntal duet for soprano and oboe, Bach concludes with one of his favorite choruses (used in three other cantatas) in A minor and C major, uniting the two central tones of the cantata in a final affirmation of consolation. It is a must! All services at Emmanuel Church now allow for in-person presence (HERE as a precaution), and everything will continue to be broadcast live: HERE.

Bach later with the cantata singers

The same Cantata n ° 72 “Alles nur nach Gottes Willen” will conclude the last (of the four) concerts of Cantata Singers 2021-2022 “Emergent”! at First Church Cambridge: BWV 72 will crown a program organized and led by Northeastern University’s new director of choral activities, Katherine Chan (bio HERE). With live performances from Boston’s Urbanity Dance (celebrating its tenth anniversary, webpage HERE), this March 27e The performance will pit Bach’s BWV 72 with motets by Schütz and Schein and five ensemble creations by Jonathan Dove, Jocelyn Hagen, Christopher Harris, James MacMillan and Israeli composer Yehuda Yannay (details HERE).

To find a worthy successor to director David Hoose, Cantata Singers will offer a comprehensive program curated and led by each of its four musical director finalists this season. Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez (biography HERE) leads on October 22sd program, presenting the four cantatas for Michealmas by Bach (BWV 19, 50, 130 and 149) as well as three ensemble creations: two motets of the beautiful Shared land and Knut Nystedt’s random and “timeless” arrangement of Komm, süßer Tod (program details HERE).

Hartt School’s new director of choral activities Anthony Trecek-King (bio HERE) leads on December 12 from Cantata Singerse concert (program details HERE) featuring the fifth part of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and seasonal motets by Schütz and Poulenc. Five ensemble premieres will present diverse contemporary approaches to sacred composition, highlighted by a first Ave Maria by award-winning Oberlin and Harvard graduate R. Nathaniel Dett, and Margaret Bonds’ impressive cantata infused with jazz and blues. based on “” by Langston Hughes Ballad of the Brown King.

In March, Williams College Choral Director Noah Horn (bio HERE) will conduct a concert titled “Into Your Hands,” featuring a politically charged new work by Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw (website HERE), Handel’s explosive, early Dixit Dominus, spirituals by Dett and Brandon Waddles, and Bach’s fantastic double-choir motet Komm, Jesus, komm (program HERE).

Laura Prichard teaches throughout the Boston area as a Certified K-12 Music / Dance / Art Teacher, Theater Pianist (Winchester Cooperative Theater), and University Level (Harvard Libraries, Bunker Hill CC, and previously at Northeastern and UMass). She was Associate Director of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, which won a Grammy Award from 1995 to 2003, under the direction of Vance George.

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