Tuesday, April 04, 2017

American Bach Soloists do Bach Motets

Jeffrey Thomas conductor


Bach: Fürchte dich nicht, ich bin bei dir BWV 228
Bach: Komm, Jesu, komm BWV 229
Bach: Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf BWV 226
Bach: Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied BWV 225

The program was filled out with 2 other recently attributed motets and 2 trio sonatas.Bach:

Jauchzet dem Herrn, alle Welt  BWV Anh. 160

Usually I have no complaints about the Davis Community Church where American Bach Soloists hold their concerts, but unfortunately the stage portion of the church is too small to allow for the double chorus effect to be heard.  A comparison was made to San Marco in Venice, a giant space with amazing acoustics where the two choruses could be widely separated.  The reference is due to the fact that the multiple chorus idea was invented at San Marco.  So all we could experience was seeing their mouths move.

Elizabeth Blumenstock and Jude Ziliak played violin in trio sonata BWV 525 to pleasing effect.  I was not able to understand why a violin and an oboe were the treble voices in BWV 226.

I came because I had never heard any of these motets performed before.  I remember studying Singet dem Herrn in school.  They are of widely varying interest and quality.  Some are iffy attributions.  Choosing to play all of them on one program would have to do with generating a CD, probably.  Every motet was accompanied by continuo and a small group of treble instruments.  I think I had a different expectation not based on current musicology.

Singet dem Herrn is a glorious piece, wildly contrapuntal in places, much admired by Mozart.  Jauchzet dem Herrn seemed to involve Telemann with fascinating, almost operatic ornamentation, and seemed much too Italian for Bach.  Telemann is much more Rococo than the strictly high Baroque of Bach. Fürchte dich nicht had the most noticeable antiphonal effects.

I enjoy more varied programming.

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