Bach Soloists wrap up season on April 28

By From page A11 | April 24, 2014

The American Bach Soloists conclude their Davis season at 7 p.m. Monday, April 28, with “Bach’s Legacy,” a program celebrating the music of J.S. Bach and its lasting influence upon later composers. The concert is at Davis Community Church, 412 C St.

Artistic and Music Director Jeffrey Thomas has chosen to feature the American Bach Choir in a selection of motets and choral works by J.S. Bach (1685-1750), along with choral masterpieces by later composers such as Felix Mendelssohn and Johannes Brahms, two composers from the 1800s who were profoundly influenced by the Cantor of Leipzig and sought to emulate his style. Thomas also will lead the combined forces of the choir and the period instrument orchestra of ABS in Bach’s exquisite cantata “Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir”, BWV 131 (“Out of the depths I call to thee”) which, composed at the age of 22, is one of the composer’s earliest works.

Since their creation, Bach’s motet settings for double chorus, such as “Komm, Jesu, komm,” BWV 229 and “Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf,” BWV 226, have been a source of inspiration for listeners, performers and several composers. Thomas will direct the American Bach Choir in Johannes Brahms’s “Fest-und Gedenksprüche” and Mendelssohn’s “Sechs Spüche,” beautiful choral works by two of the most famous disciples of the master.

Along with performances of two of Bach’s greatest motets, compositions by 20th century composers that show the influence of those seminal works will also be performed. “Komm, Jesu, komm” by Swedish composer Sven-David Sandström (b. 1942) utilizes the text and spirit of Bach to create a meditative, modern work for the 21st century. “Immortal Bach” by Norwegian composer Knut Nystedt (b. 1915) is another contemporary work honoring the resonance of Bach’s creations through the ages. Utilizing the text of his “Komm süßer Tod, komm selge Ruh” (“Come, sweet death, come, blessed rest”) and employing multiple choirs that begin and end the text at different points and at different tempi, Nystedt reconceives the balance and simplicity of Bach’s original in a complex, yet extremely moving, new setting.

The American Bach Choir, which “sets the standard in choral singing” (San Francisco Classical Voice), and the instrumental forces of ABS, all under the direction of Maestro Thomas, will honor Bach’s ongoing musical legacy in this challenging and uplifting program.

There will be a pre-concert talk at 6 p.m. Single Ticket prices range from $25 to $64, reservations may be made online at www.americanbach.org or by calling 415-621-7900. Limited ticket availability at the door.

Jeff Hudson

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