Wednesday, March 8, 2017

American Bach Choir will Present Five Motets for Double Chorus

At the beginning of next month, American Bach Soloists will present the second concert in its 28th concert season. The title of the program will be Bach’s Motets for Double Chorus, meaning that, for the entire program the American Bach Choir will be divided into two interacting SATB choirs. These compositions are frequently performed with continuo support. In addition, the BWV 228 motet Fürchte dich nicht (do not fear), which will be included on the program, can be performed with instruments doubling the vocal lines. (No specific instruments are identified; nor is there any indication of this requirement in the score in the nineteenth-century Bach-Gesellschaft-Ausgabe complete-works publication.

Perhaps the most unique offering on the program will be the motet Jauchzet dem Herrn alle Welt (praise the Lord in all lands), which amounts to a joint effort by Johann Sebastian Bach and Georg Philipp Telemann. Most likely this was not a “side-by-side” undertaking. The first movement is probably Bach’s adaptation of music by Telemann. The second movement, in turn, comes from Bach’s BWV 28 cantata, Gottlob! nun geht das Jahr zu Ende (praise God, the year now draws to a close). The final movement is based on an “Amen” setting by Telemann (TWV 1:1066); and it was probably added to the motet by Johann Gottlob Harrer, who succeeded to the post of Thomaskantor in Leipzig after Bach’s death. As a result, this one motet is distinguished by having multiple catalog numbers, BWV Anh. 160 and TWV 8:10, as well as TWV 1:1066!

The other motets on the program will be Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied (sing unto the Lord a new song, BWV 225), Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf (the Spirit gives aid to our weakness, BWV 226), and Komm, Jesu, komm (come, Jesus, come, BWV 229).

This performance will begin at 4 p.m. on Sunday April 2. The venue will be St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, located at 1111 O’Farrell Street, just west of the corner of Franklin Street. Tickets are available for $85, $64, and $33. Tickets may be purchased in advance online through an event page on the ABS Web site.

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