The Chattanooga Bach Choir, David Long artistic director and conductor, returns from a two-year pandemic hiatus with a festive cantata concert celebrating the “Feast of the Visitation” on Tuesday, May 31, at 7:30 p.m. The concert takes place at Christ Church Episcopal, 663 Douglas St. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased in advance here.
The program includes: J.S. Bach’s Cantata BWV 147 Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben (Heart and Mouth and Deed and Life), as well as Morten Lauridsen’s Ave Maria and Palestrina’s Magnificat á 8, plus the Choral Prelude, No. 12 for organ, BWV 662, Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehre (Alone to God on High be Honored).
Featured soloists are: Cynthia Johnson, soprano; Suranjan Sen, alto; Christopher Reames, tenor; Matthew Hoch, bass; and Karla Fowkes, organ.
Mr. Long said, "We are excited to be performing once again, and we look forward to celebrating the return of the Chattanooga Bach Choir and Orchestra with Chattanooga music lovers. The concert is very similar to our past performances of Bach Cantatas, featuring one of his over 200 works for chorus, soloists and instruments and performed on the specific liturgical day for which it was written. In addition, we surround the Cantata with related choral motets and an organ solo to open the concert, as well as a brief explanation of the Cantata before its performance. In the Christian liturgical calendar, May 31, is the one of the three Marian “Feasts of the Visitation.”
Cantata BWV 147 was first performed for the Marian Feast taking place on July 2, 1723, during Bach’s first year as the director of church music in Leipzig. Originally written for Advent, Bach expanded the work to ten movements divided into two sections, added new text, and included the popular chorale, “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” which is among the most widely known and recognized of Bach’s settings. The audience will be invited to sing along with the choir and orchestra on this famous chorale. Keeping with the Marian theme, the choir will also sing a motet by a living composer, Morten Lauridsen’s Ave Maria; and a setting of the Magnificat by 16th century Renaissance master, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. The concert will open with an organ solo, Bach’s Chorale Prelude No. 12. We hope audiences will enjoy our offering of Bach’s beautiful Cantata to celebrate the “Feast of the Visitation.”
Established in 1985 by conductor James Greasby, the Chattanooga Bach Choir provides an opportunity for local musicians to perform choral-orchestral masterworks by J.S. Bach and other important composers from all musical eras. Mr. Long was appointed conductor and artistic director in 2005. During his 17-year tenure, the Chattanooga Bach Choir’s programs and repertoire have expanded to include an annual series featuring Bach’s Cantatas, as well as the Masterworks programs highlighting a variety of musical styles. Over its 37-year history, the Chattanooga Bach Choir has performed more than thirty of J.S. Bach’s cantatas, motets, and larger choral works, including Actus Tragicus, the St. John Passion and the Mass in B Minor.