Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bach Cantata Choir to give Lenten concert this Sunday

Press Release from the Bach Cantata Choir:

The Bach Cantata Choir will present a Lenten concert featuring two cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach on Sunday, March 15 from 2:00pm-3:00pm at Rose City Park Presbyterian Church, 1907 NE 45th Ave in Portland, Oregon. The concert, under the direction of conductor Ralph Nelson, will feature a performance of Bach’s Cantata #12, “Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen”, Cantata #131 “Aus der Tiefen rufe ich”, and “Herzlich lieb hab ich dich” -- a rarely heard motet for double choir by the German composer Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612). The concert is free and open to the public. A free-will offering will be taken. Doors open at 1:30pm.

Featured in major solos in the Bach cantatas will be alto Irene Weldon, tenor Byron Wright and baritone Jacob Herbert. Also singing smaller roles in Cantata #131 will be soprano Elise Groves, alto Elizabeth Farquhar, tenor Mark Woodward, and bass Uwe Haefker. The works will be accompanied by a small chamber orchestra. John Vergin will provide the organ continuo. This concert features the Bach Cantata Choir – a choir of 50 professional or semi-professional voices, drawn from many of Portland’s finest choirs.

Bach’s sacred cantatas were written to be performed as part of the Lutheran Church liturgy. Cantata #12, “Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen” (“Weeping, Wailing, Fretting, Fearing”) dates from 1714 and, though written originally for the 3rd Sunday after Easter, is closely associated with Lent. In 1747, Bach reworked the first movement of this cantata – it became the famous “Crucifixus” in his Mass in B Minor.

Bach’s Cantata #131, “Aus der Tiefen ruhe ich” (“Out of the Depths I Cry to Thee”) is a setting of Psalm 130 and is considered by scholars to be the first cantata that Bach wrote -- written in 1707 when Bach was 22 years old and working as organist in the small town of Mühlhausen. Although not particularly tied to any one Sunday in the church year, scholars believe it may have been written for a service following a devastating fire.

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