This year the Lenten season will be enriched with a generous supply of a major composition by Johann Sebastian Bach, his BWV 245 setting of the Passion text taken from the eighteenth and nineteenth chapters of the Gospel According to Saint John (with two interpolations from the Gospel According to Saint Matthew). Composed in 1724, BWV 245 predates Bach’s BWV 244 setting of the entire Passion text from Matthew, which was probably first performed in 1727. Regular readers should know by now that, one week from tomorrow (Sunday, February 25), the American Bach Soloists will perform BWV 245. However, they will perform the 1725 version of the score, for which Bach added three arias, which have their own entries in Wolfgang Schmieder’s Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis as BWV 245a, 245b, and 245c, respectively.
Fortunately, this season will also provide an opportunity to experience the original version; and it will not conflict with this month’s performance. Sanford Dole is in the process of preparing his Bay Choral Guild (BCG) to present BWV 245 in its original version. Instrumental resources will be provided by Jubilate with David Wilson serving as concertmaster. Tenor Corey Head will sing the words of the Evangelist, and baritone Jeffrey Fields will sing those of Jesus. The aria soloists will be Tonia d’Amelio (soprano), Heidi Waterman (contralto), Michael Desnoyers (tenor), and Nikolas Nackley (baritone).
The San Francisco performance of BWV 245 will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 17. The venue will be St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, located at 1111 O’Farrell Street, just west of the corner of Franklin Street. BCG has created an event page for advance purchase of tickets online. General admission for such purchases will be $30 with a $25 rate for seniors and $10 for students. The student rate applies to those over eighteen with identification. Those under eighteen who attend with an adult paying either the general or the senior rate will be admitted for free. Ticket prices at the door will be $35 for general admission and $30 for seniors. Dole will give a preview lecture beginning at 7 p.m.