A BACH FAMILY CHRISTMAS


Article by Luis Vazquez

It was four acts comprising of the works of Bach plus something never before heard supported by a chorus who builds on its reputation with each new performance. The Bach Family Christmas at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium started off even but with the esteemed singing four arriving in the second stage things started to gel and by the third part, which introduced a World Premiere piece, they were all hitting on all cylinders. The finale was a example of interplay at its best.

The show started off with a limited orchestra which was hard to appreciate at first as the numerous Cecilia Chorus of New York nearly drowned them out doing the three parts of Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme of Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach, JS Bach’s son’s piece. But it was a commendable start that promised more. It did not fail.

It started to take shape with Johann Ernest Bach’ Meine Seele erhebet den Herren, the eight-part second program with the addition of soprano Rebecca Farley, who I personally felt was the strongest performer on this evening, along with the exotic style of mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb, who commanded their solos with excellent give-and-take between them and the chorus. We also got to hear TenorMatthew Swensen, and Bass-Baritone Cody Quattlebaum bring their specific styles of voice with standout solos or interplay with chorus or together. The surprise of the night that stood out was Counter-tenor Nicholas Tamagna, whose voice was extremely soft with pleasing undercurrents which made for a great contrast to the deeper intonations of Quattlebaum who played the heavy to Nicholas in Act II bringing a knowing laugh from the audience.

These aspects were especially effective in the third part of the program, a 15-minute piece called Der Zippelfagottist which debuted tonight. Composed by Jonathan Pollack Breit, the title is actually an insult which does not have a translation but tells the story of a public fight between Johann Sebastian Bach and one of his music students. This piece was a diverse set of conversation between the antagonists with the https://www.viagrasansordonnancefr.com/viagra-naturel/ mood set by the Cecilia Chorus and an orchestra, once again led by Mark Shapiro but reinforced with numbers making a stronger statement. It was a series of interactions between the singers who took on more of an acting aspect to give each player that tenseness of impending conflict to come and then in its conclusion.

The Magnificat in D major, BWV 243 by Johann Sebastian Bach was a 16-part act well-played by all three performance aspects. This was the finale which allowed solos for each to build on each other interspersed with key chorus interventions and duets culminating in a brillant fusion of Farley, Chaieb, and Swenson’s Trio rendition of Suscepit Israel. The Cecilia Chorus, who were so fundamentally sound from their extensive experience base that they took us to the end with Sicut locutus est and Gloria patri.

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