The Chattanooga Bach Choir, David Long artistic director and conductor, presents its 5th annual Barnett & Company Cantata Series, focusing on J.S. Bach’s choral works appropriately chosen for the particular Sunday in the liturgical calendar. All concerts take place at 5 p.m. at Christ Church Episcopal (663 Douglas St. at McCallie Avenue). Tickets are $20. Students are free. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.chattanoogabachchoir.org.
Review for the concert:
The 2019-20 Barnett & Company Cantata Series continues with J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Part V, Ehre sei dir, Gott, gesungen (Let honor to you, God, be sung), BWV 248, celebrating the first Sunday of the New Year. The program begins with Bach’s Prelude in C major for organ, BWV 547, followed by Orlando di Lassus’ introit motet, In Deo salutare meum (Psalm 62).
Joining the Bach Choir and Orchestra are guest artists: Maria Rist, soprano; Emily Halbert, alto; Mark Laseter, tenor; Matthew Hoch, bass; and Patrick Rice, organ.
Mr. Long said, “Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, first performed in Leipzig during the 1734-35 Christmas season, is comprised of six separate cantatas celebrating the specific feast days between Christmas and Epiphany: I. the birth of Jesus (Dec. 25); II. the announcement to the shepherds by a host of angels (Dec. 26); III. the adoration of the child by the shepherds (Dec. 27); IV. the circumcision and naming of Jesus (New Year’s Day); V. the coming of the Magi from the East to find the child "born King of the Jews" (the Sunday after New Year’s Day); and VI. the Magi’s worship with their gifts (Jan. 6). On each of these days Bach’s congregation was inspired by a cantata that recounted one of these stories, commenting and reflecting upon the events and their meanings for the Christian individual and community.
“We are performing the fifth Cantata written for the first Sunday in the New Year depicting the Wise Men following the star on their journey to find this special child and King Herod’s fear at this news. Scored for two oboes, two violins, viola and continuo, the work begins with a joyful SATB chorus exalting God (Let honor to You be sung) and then relates the story with dramatic recitatives and contemplative arias (Happy are you who have seen the light); (Your splendor consumes all darkness); (When will he who is the comfort of his people come?); and concludes with an uplifting chorale (Indeed such a room in my heart… will seem filled with sunlight). We present these performances of Bach’s inspiring music to provide an hour of beauty and respite on a Sunday afternoon; and on this day, to welcome the New Year.”
The Chattanooga Bach Choir’s Barnett & Company Cantata Series explores J.S. Bach’s more than 200 cantatas written for every Sunday in the church year. Mr. Long introduces each cantata with a brief musical explanation placing each work in its liturgical context.
The 2019-20 season continues on March 22: Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir, BWV 131; and June 7: Es ist ein trotzig und verzagt Ding, BWV 176 (Trinity Sunday).