Thanks to everyone on hand for our 2012 Spring Concert, now a happy memory for all involved. At first (and second) glance, it was a “heavy” program, including Brahms’ Four Serious Songs, an encomium to the Holy Spirit’s help in our weakness, and a Requiem setting. Surely, we worked hard to give the gravity of these topics its due, and Chris Nomura and Tom Goeman’s Four Serious Songs were quite serious, indeed. But, everyone to whom I spoke afterwards were universal in marveling at the kind of uplift experiencing this music offered. As we walked out into the very-early spring (late winter?) sunlight, I couldn’t help but think of the word that begins and ends Brahms’ gorgeous Requiem: selig. Blessed.
I hope I can also be forgiven for feeling, during the performance, such pride in my colleagues in The Choir, the soloists, the pianists, and our conductor. In the seventh movement, each section takes a turn singing a very long, emotionally and musically challenging line, and, in hearing the other three sections, it was hard not to appreciate just how hard they were working, how committed to the undersung task of bringing beauty into a world that badly needs it they were. This was a very special Bach Choir concert – there was a unanimous feeling among all of the musicians with whom I spoke, including soloists, that this Brahms Requiem was one for the ages. We surely gave it our all, and to be part of such an enterprise, with such wonderful people (performers and audience, alike) is an inestimable blessing.
Looking forward, the April Bach at Noon is less than a month away, on April 10th. The Choir returns to rehearsal tonight, and we begin our work on repertoire for the 2012 Bethlehem Bach Festival, including two cantatas on Reformation themes, his exceedingly masterful Easter Cantata No. 4, and the gorgeous Cantata No. 21. Also on tap at the Festival will be guitar virtuoso Eliot Fisk, with the Bach Festival Orchestra, harpsichordist Charlotte Mattax-Moersch’s survey of the partitas, and lectures by Larry Lipkis and Nicholas Kenyon. This rite of spring has been at the heart of The Choir’s work for over a hundred years (this will be the 105th Festival), and is always a grand, grand affair. Visit The Choir’s website for more information about ticketing and the specific programs.