The 2011 Bach Choir Christmas Concerts are now a fond memory for listeners and singers, alike! Congratulations and thanks are due to many members of our organization: from the administrative staff, who did a brilliant job (as always) with ticketing, marketing, and the myriad of unsung, behind-the-scenes work, to our fearless leader, Greg Funfgeld, for his wonderful work in conceiving and preparing all of the musicians for a very stimulating program, to my colleagues in The Choir and Orchestra for their hard work in learning the challenging music in new styles, and, finally, to everyone who came out to hear this glorious music. The Bethlehem concert was sold-out, and we had a fine showing in Allentown. Lots of moments stand out in my memory – from Charlotte Mattax-Mersch’s zesty and elegant renditions of nöels in the Charpentier, to the trio of women (including Choir member, Beth Gardner) offering lovely singing in the same. Cantata No. 40 had two bravura arias, and Ben Butterfield and Joshua Copeland triumphed over the challenges beautifully. Our colleagues in the orchestra had to master the notes inégales in the Charpentier, and they did a magnificent job of capturing the improvisatory spirit of French Baroque music. What delightful concerts!
If you were unable to attend, or you did, and would like a replay, listen to WWFM on Friday, December 23rd, beginning at 8 pm, for a broadcast, which will include an interview with Greg (for which he had to drive to Trenton today – no rest for the weary!).
The Choir is now on hiatus until January. We’ll hit the ground running for our 50th (!) Bach at Noon on Tuesday, January 10th, beginning at noon at Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem. We’re repeating the program from the first Bach at Noon – Bach’s wonderful Epiphany Cantata No. 65 (which splendidly evokes the journey of the Magi with some really wonderful camel-based text-painting), and Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 1. It’s going to be a wonderful celebration.
It’s been an amazing fall: we began with The Choir’s performances in the September 11th remembrances at Trinity Wall Street and St. Paul’s Chapel on September 9th, and offered some of that repertoire in Bethlehem at this year’s first Bach at Noon. Charlotte Mattax-Moersch offered three Bach harpsichord concertos over the three Bach at Noon concerts. We had a triumphant gala in October, with Hilary Hahn playing a stunning concert, and the generous patrons of The Choir far surpassing our fundraising goals. In the midst of all of this, The Choir released a new CD, our Songs of Hope recording, and editing was completed on what is certain to be a very special release this spring: Bach’s monumental St. John Passion, and we prepared for our wonderful Christmas Concerts. Whew!
This feast of inestimable riches continues this winter and spring: from exuberant and celebratory Bach at Noon concerts, to our annual Family Concert (this year with dancers from around the Valley), a spring concert of Brahms’ transcendant Ein Deutsches Requiem, and the Festival in May, a lot of gorgeous music is on tap for the Bach Choir Family! Stay tuned for more information – and remember to like us on Facebook to receive periodic updates and to receive word whenever I’ve posted here.
Update, December 13th: Steve Siegel has a glowing review on the Morning Call’s music blog.