The Washington Bach Consort, “one of America’s finest ensembles” (Washington Post), is pleased to announce its thirty-fourth season presenting a series of five subscription concerts at National Presbyterian Church in Washington DC’s Tenleytown neighborhood and six free Noontime Cantatas downtown, as well as an expanded series of its highly popular education program, Bach in Time.
Music Director/Founder J. Reilly Lewis directs the Consort’s acclaimed professional chorus and an orchestra performing on period instruments in a brilliant selection of music by JS Bach and his contemporaries. The 2011-2012 Season expands to five concerts in National Presbyterian Church, Northwest Washington DC, renowned for its superior acoustics and splendid pipe organ. The season places Bach in context among his famous contemporaries— Scarlatti, Handel, and Telemann—as well as composers not so familiar to modern audiences, such as Graupner, Pergolesi, and Kuhnau. A program of works written for instrumentalists and solo singers showcases both exciting emerging artists and the Consort’s extraordinary vocal artistry. The holiday concert features seasonal works by Bach and other Baroque composers and includes one of the cantatas from the Christmas Oratorio. Bach’s legacy is explored with a rare performance of the complete Art of the Fugue, the great musical exposition revered by musicians for over two centuries, in both solo keyboard and ensemble settings. It is, in fact, the very first time in all of our 35 years that the WBC is performing this monumental masterpiece. Each individual movement explores in increasing contrapuntal sophistication the seemingly limitless creative possibilities inherent in Bach’s chosen theme. It is a model of melodic, harmonic and rhythmic invention all informed by a formidable theoretical mind and a natural propensity for perfection. The final concert of the season is an all-Bach program entitled Heaven on Earth that includes some of his greatest choral and orchestral works.
Each subscription concert will be preceded by an hour lecture focusing on the work to be performed. The lectures are presented by world-recognized Bach scholar Michael Marissen, Professor of Music at Swarthmore College. These lectures begin at 2pm, immediately preceding the concert. There will be a brief, informal reception with refreshments following each of the five performances.
In addition to the subscription concerts, the popular Noontime Cantata Series returns with six free of-charge performances at the newly-renovated Church of the Epiphany, located at 13th & G Streets, NW, Washington, DC, just across the street from the Metro Center metro stop. The Consort will perform at noon on the first Tuesday of October, November, December, March, April, and May. The fifty-minute concerts include a brief introduction by Music Director J. Reilly Lewis, a harpsichord concerto featuring area keyboard artists, and one of J.S. Bach’s Cantatas with chorus and orchestra.
In November and again in May at the Sitar Arts Center the Consort’s Bach in Time education program focuses on introducing young audiences to Bach. The current target audience for Bach in Time is 2nd to 4th grade students in the Washington, DC public school system. The education program was retooled and re-launched November 2009 and due to its immediate popularity last season, the Consort has added an additional time slots to accommodate the many DC Public Schools interested in the program.
Washington Bach Consort 2011-2012 Season
National Presbyterian Church
4101 Nebraska Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20016
Sunday, September 25, 2011 at 3 p.m.
A Vintage Year: 1685
Johann Sebastian Bach: Concerto in C Minor for Oboe, Violin & Orchestra, BWV 1060R Domenico Scarlatti: Messa Breve, La Stella
George Frideric Handel: Dixit Dominus
Johann Sebastian Bach: Aus der Tiefe rufe ich, BWV 131
All three were born in 1685: Now in their twenties, Handel and Scarlatti engage in a friendly professional rivalry in Rome, while the young Bach in Mühlhausen, Germany turns from secular to sacred works. We’ll hear Bach’s earliest surviving cantata and a concerto written for two harpsichords in its later transcription, with Concertmaster Andrew Fouts and oboist Geoffrey Burgess.
Sunday, November 6, 2011 at 3 p.m.
In Solo Flight
Christoph Graupner: Vergnügte Ruh
Johann Sebastian Bach: Fantastia and Fugue in G Minor, BWV 542
Giovanni Pergolesi: Stabat Mater
Johann Sebastian Bach: Vergnügte Ruh, BWV 170
Enjoy an afternoon of exquisite solo virtuosity with two exciting young artists from Canada, soprano Agnes Zsigovics and counter-tenor Daniel Taylor, and Scott Dettra as organ soloist. Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, featuring soprano and alto, inspired Bach’s Cantata BWV
1083, set to words of Psalm 51. We’ll hear two settings of Vergnügte Ruh, Bach’s as a cantata for solo alto, and his contemporary Christoph Graupner’s for soprano solo.
Sunday, December 4, 2011 at 3 p.m.
Christmas in Leipzig
Johann Sebastian Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 3, BWV 1068
Johann Kuhnau: Cantata: Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern
Georg Philipp Telemann: Deutsches Magnificat
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata: Fallt mit Danken, BWV 248, IV
An early version of Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 without trumpets and timpani sets the festive tone after which we move into some gorgeous seasonal choral music by Bach and his contemporaries. Kuhnau was Bach’s illustrious predecessor as Cantor at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, and Telemann, the most famous and successful of Bach’s contemporaries, was actually first offered the very same position that Bach eventually assumed. The program ends with one of the six cantatas that together form Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.
Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 3 p.m.
The Art of the Fugue
Johann Sebastian Bach: Die Kunst der Fugue, BWV 1080
Bach’s great exposition and meditation on the fugue, created at the end of his life, is considered his last will and testament, or, in Christopher Wolff’s words, “the attainment of an ultimate goal, the ‘be-all and end-all’ of an extraordinarily strong willed artistic personality.” Glenn Gould said of the work, “There’s never been anything more beautiful in all of music.” The Art of the Fugue was not written for any specific instrumentation.
Although it can be performed on solo keyboard, in this rare performance of the complete work we’ll hear it in different ensemble groupings including string ensemble, harpsichord and organ.
Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 3 p.m.
Heaven on Earth
Johann Sebastian Bach:
Brandenburg Concerto IV in G Major, BWV 1049
Missa brevis in G Minor, BWV 235
Prelude and Fugue in A Minor, BWV 543
Ascension Oratorio, BWV 11
A glorious afternoon of music by Bach combines the sacred and the secular, from a Brandenburg Concerto with the flavor of a witty Parisian salon to some of his most profound and complex sacred works, showcasing the brilliant musicians and singers of the Consort. We’ll hear one of the so-called Lutheran masses, the often overlooked smaller siblings of the great B Minor Mass, the spectacular Ascension Oratorio, and the justly nicknamed “Great” Prelude and Fugue in A Minor performed by J. Reilly Lewis on National Presbyterian Church’s magnificent Skinner pipe organ.
Noontime Cantata Series
Church of the Epiphany
1317 G Street, NW Washington, DC 20005
Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 12:10 p.m. Church of the Epiphany
Cantata: Ihr Menschen, rühmet Gottes Liebe, BWV 167
Harpsichord Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1052
Soloist: J. Reilly Lewis
Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 12:10 p.m. Church of the Epiphany
Cantata: Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes, BWV 76
Harpsichord Concerto in E Major, BWV 1053
Soloist: Todd Fickley
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 12:10 p.m. Church of the Epiphany
Cantata: Darzu ist erschienen der Sohn Gottes, BWV 40
Harpsichord Concerto in D Major, BWV 1054
Soloist: William Neil
Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 12:10 p.m. Church of the Epiphany
Cantata: Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn, BWV 23
Harpsichord Concerto in A Major, BWV 1055
Soloist: Joseph Gascho
Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 12:10 p.m. Church of the Epiphany
Cantata: Der Friede sei mit dir, BWV 158
Harpsichord Concerto in F Minor, BWV 1056
Soloist: Elena Tsai
Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at 12:10 p.m. Church of the Epiphany
Cantata: Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147
Harpsichord Concerto in G Minor, BWV 1058
Soloist: Scott Dettra
Subscriptions and single tickets to the Washington Bach Consort’s 2011-2012 season are on sale now. For more information, contact the Consort at 202.429.2121 or visit www.bachconsort.org.