The Chattanooga Bach Choir & Orchestra, conducted by artistic director David Long, presents Johann Sebastian Bach’s Mass in B Minor on Saturday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m., at the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1505 N. Moore Road in Chattanooga. Admission is $25; students are free. For more information and to purchase tickets in advance, visit www.chattanoogabachchoir.org
Joining the Chattanooga Bach Choir & Orchestra are featured soloists Maria Rist, soprano I, Alissa Ruth Suver, soprano II; Virginia Lile Boaz, alto, Mark Laseter, tenor and Matthew Hoch, bass. Bach’s Mass in B minor is performed in Latin.
"The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul." -- J.S.
David Long, the Bach Choir’s artistic director, comments, “For many musicians and music lovers, the one work they would take with them on a desert island would be Bach’s Mass in B Minor, a work revered for its dramatic sweep and spiritual resonance. Completed in 1748, two years before his death, the Mass in B minor has long been recognized as the summation of Bach’s art and philosophy – dedication to his mission , striving for perfection, and the glorification of God – resulting in a work for the ages. As a German Lutheran, Bach would have no reason to create a setting of the complete Roman Catholic mass, especially since it was not intended for liturgical use and was never performed in his own lifetime. So the question is why did he write it? The answer may lie with the varied ways he went about setting the four parts of the
Ordinary of the Latin Mass – I. Kyrie and Gloria (“Missa”), II. Credo ("Symbolum Nicenum”), III. Sanctus, IV. Osannah-Benedictus-Agnus Dei-Dona Nobis Pacem – in which he contrasts magisterial, extroverted and dramatic movements for multi-part chorus with elaborate orchestrations against more expressive, intimate and virtuosic writing for one or two voices with solo accompanying instruments. In creating this rich musical tapestry, Bach extensively reworked music he had written over the course of his lifetime to fit these texts, as well as creating sections of newly composed music where necessary. The result is the crowning peak of Bach’s sacred music and one of the greatest musical creations of all time demonstrating the use of faith as a powerful stimulus and inspiration. In the words of another famous composer, Robert Schumann, ‘We are never at an end with Bach, he seems to grow more profound the more often he is heard.’”
Established in 1985 by conductor James Greasby, the Chattanooga Bach Choir focuses on performing the choral works of Johann Sebastian Bach, in addition to choral-orchestral masterworks of all periods. David Long was appointed artistic director and conductor of the Chattanooga Bach Choir in 2005. During his tenure, he has expanded the programs and repertoire to include a yearly series featuring Bach cantatas and performances of a wide range of music from the past to the present. Over its three decades-long history, the Bach Choir has performed the works of more than sixty composers from the Renaissance to the present, including Josquin, Telemann, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Fauré, Duruflé, Lauridsen and Gjeilo.