Almost everyone on the planet has heard something by JS Bach. If not by Bach himself, then music by other composers that he influenced.
Live Arts Maryland continues its exploration of the works of the composer in the third season of Bach+ concerts at St. Anne’s Church in downtown Annapolis. This year, the series expands to include four elements – the Thursday Series, Masterworks, Cantata Vespers and Organ Vespers – offering the Bach experience through many different avenues. This season also celebrate two anniversaries – the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation and the 325th anniversary of St. Anne’s parish – with a “musical offering” that features J.S. Bach’s B Minor Mass, the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248), The Art of Fugue, and Handel’s immortal Messiah.
At the heart of Bach+ is an exploration of the infinite creativity and joy that is the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Now entering its fourth year, Bach+ offers much more than performances of Bach’s music within a beautiful environment (even though we are privileged to perform in historic St. Anne’s Church). Bach+ is about communication—exploring the musical dialogue among Bach and those who came before him as well as those who were influenced by him or respond to his music—and collaboration—between performers and the audience as well as among performers working in variety of genres.
Joining the popular – and free – Thursday night series, which begins October 5 and features a wide variety of music played by the area’s best talent, including Musica Spira, the Elan Ensemble, soprano Lindsay Espinosa and saxophonist Tae Ho Hwang - are three new sets of concerts.
The first is the Masterworks series, which features two concerts performed by the Annapolis Chorale and Annapolis Chamber Orchestra under the direction Live Arts Maryland Music Director J. Ernest Green. The first are three performances of Handel’s Messiah Dec. 15 through 17, an Annapolis area tradition. There are two evening performances and Sunday’s performance is at 3 p.m. The second Masterworks concert comes on March 10, when the Chorale’s Chamber Chorus and Annapolis Chamber Orchestra perform Bach’s Mass in B minor (BWV 232) under the baton of Mr. Green. Tickets for both of these Masterworks concerts are available at www.liveartsmaryland.org.
The new Cantata Vespers concerts will include Bach’s Ein Feste Burg (Nov. 5), and portions of his Christmas Oratorio on Christmas Eve and the following Sunday (Jan. 7). These pieces will be included as part of regular services at St. Anne’s Church. Organist and Bach expert Larry Molinaro is the performer in eight hour-long Organ Vespers concerts on Sundays at 4 p.m. beginning September 24. Designed to show off St. Anne’s newly-refurbished Freiburger organ as well as the organ works of J.S. Bach, each program demonstrates how Bach incorporated the styles of the previous generation of German masters along with Italian and French styles into his compositions. Works to be performed include chorales from the Orgelbüchlein as well as the famous Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor (BWV 582).
All the offerings under Bach+ umbrella this fall are a treat for all JS Bach admirers and aficionados. The series will continue in spring 2018. All concerts are free except the Masterworks performances. For the Thursday Series, the Cantata Vespers and Organ Vespers, there are no tickets required. Donations are welcome. Additional information for the series can be found at www.liveartsmaryland.org or by calling 410-263-1906.
A co-presentation of St. Anne’s Church, the Rev. Dr. Amy Richter, Rector, and Live Arts Maryland, J. Ernest Green, Music Director, this music series has for more than a decade brought great music and musicians to Annapolis.