The 2014-2015 season marks the 10th season for the Bach Cantata Choir. In order to celebrate this achievement, the season will include a unique presentation of Bach’s Mass in B minor over four separate concerts. At each concert, Artistic Director Ralph Nelson will discuss and demonstrate works familiar to Bach when Bach was composing each movement of the Mass. In particular, the choir and orchestra will demonstrate previous cantatas which Bach “borrowed” and re-wrote into the Mass, as well as works by other composers which Bach performed while composing the Mass.
This concert is subtitled “A Tale of Two Cities – Leipzig and Dresden.” Historians believe that J.S. Bach composed the “Kyrie” and “Gloria” of the Mass in B minor in 1733 in order to leave the town of Leipzig, Germany (where Bach was Director of Music and very unhappy with his employment) and somehow be hired by the Elector of Saxony in the town of Dresden, Germany. Unfortunately for Bach, there was no position for him in Dresden – since both Jan Dismas Zelenka and Johann Adolf Hasse, (both friends of Bach) were already employed by the Elector, and there was no need for an additional musician of Bach’s stature. (Bach was granted the honorary title of “Court Composer” – a position that enabled Bach to place a “crown” on his monogram, but did not give him any monetary compensation.)
In this concert, we’ll open with a work by Zelenka (Haec Dies), and then follow this with a Lutheran Missa Brevis by Bach’s teacher Dietrich Buxtehude – a work that Bach had in his music library at the time of his death in 1750. Then we will present Bach’s Cantata #177 “Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ” which was the last cantata that Bach wrote in 1733 before writing the “Kyrie” and “Gloria” movement of the Mass in B Minor. Finally, we will perform the Kyrie/Christe/Kyrie movements from the Mass.
Soloists for the concert will be Arwen Myers, soprano; Laura Thoreson, alto; and Byron Wright, tenor. The choir will be accompanied by chamber orchestra of 13 instrumental musicians.