Bach at Noon, April 9th: The Laughter of Angels


Join us on Tuesday for the last Bach at noon of the 2012-2013 Season.  It promises to be a fabulous welcome to spring, and a wonderful way to cap your Easter observances.  We’ll be joined by soloists Rosa Lamoreaux, soprano, Robert Pitello, tenor, and Christòpheren Nomura, bass, as well as instrumental soloists Robin Kani, flute, and our concertmaster, Elizabeth Field.  There will be festive trumpets and timpani, as well as some of Bach’s most charming and ebullient instrumental music.

The program will begin with Bach’s Fifth Brandenburg Concerto, which is a particularly lovely concerto for a trio of instruments:  harpsichord, flute, and violin, with accompaniment by strings.  Our conductor, Greg Funfgeld, will lead from the harpsichord.  It’s hard to avoid repetitions of the word charming to describe this piece.  There’s great whimsy, a wonderful sense of dialogue among the solo instruments, and an infectious joy to the entire enterprise.  Greg, Liz, and Robin have played this piece many times together, and I can hardly think of a more apt prelude to the cantata that will follow.  Listen for the sense of play that animates the performance – this is  music that gives great pleasure.

Following the concerto, the program will continue (and conclude) with some of Bach’s cheeriest Easter music.  Composed in 1715, while Bach was working in Weimar, this piece begins with a sonata for trumpets, reeds, and strings, a kind of fanfare that begins in unison, and then is developed contrapuntally.  After the sonata, the choir begins a series of melismas, in part, on the word lacht, or laugh.  These evocative runs sound like heavenly laughter, and the earth replies in kind.  Later in the work, during a lovely soprano aria, this sense of dialogue continues with an instrumental chorale (in this case, a solo oboe) laid over the aria.

With this concert, we will also reach an exciting milestone – this will be our 60th Bach at Noon!  How appropriate that we’ll celebrate with such festive music – and with a sense of festivity that will be a foretaste of the 106th Bethlehem Bach Festival, coming in early May.  It’s Greg’s 30th anniversary season, and much special music and celebration are on offer.  I’ll be writing lots about that in the coming week, including some special visitors to the blog.  Please stay tuned, and, as always, plan to arrive tomorrow soon after when the doors open at 11:30 am, to secure yourself a good seat!

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