Baroque Christmas

December 1, 2012 at 8pm, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church

Online Sales are closed, but there are a limited number of tickets that will be available at the door for purchase!

Our annual Baroque Christmas will feature Baroque music for the Christmas Season from composers from many countries, with the emphasis on German Baroque and the music of J.S. Bach.

Here is an interview with Artistic Director James Richman

DBS: An annual treat on DBS’s season schedule is coming up soon: the popular “German Baroque Christmas Concert”.

James, what’s on the program this Saturday , Dec. 1, at 8 p.m. at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church?

J.R.: This concert will unite the best of past concerts with some new ideas. The featured work is Cantata No. 5 of J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.
DBS: Cantata No. 5 of the Christmas Oratorio- that’s a favorite of mine! I know it is a staple in Germany. In fact, a friend of mine once counted 18 different groups that were performing the Christmas Oratorio in Leipzig, where Bach spent many years of his long career. A lot of DBS patrons will love to listen to this cantata.
J.R.:  We will also have two settings of the Annunciation story, one from Biber and one from Schütz, which could hardly be more different portrayals.

DBS: Tell us about the Biber, please.

J.R.: Biber’s is the first of the so-called Mystery Sonatas for solo violin and continuo, which portray all fifteen of the traditional “mysteries” that are found in the life of Jesus. It is of course the first, and in a very representative manner we hear the distant flutter of angel wings, followed by the declaration of the angel to Mary. Then there are a set of variations on this, and then in the last “scene” we once again hear the rush of angel wings as Gabriel departs.
DBS: Biber is amazing with these effects. What an innovator he was! And the Schütz piece?
J.R.: The Schütz piece on the other hand is set for strings, chorus, and two solo voices – Gabriel and Mary. Here there is none of the supernatural, but rather a very human dialogue, with Mary surprised, shocked and defensive (“but I have been with no man”) before she accepts the fact that she has been chosen by the Lord. This reflects the German Luther Bible, which is very much  more down-to-earth and direct than the King James Version.  It is interesting to note how the German version minces no words: Mary’s reply to Gabriel is “Welch ein Gruss ist das?” (“What kind of greeting is that?”),whereas in the King James we find, “but she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.” as Gabriel departs. It is altogether a very poetic portrayal in music.
DBS: I hear that you also featuring some Italian holiday music, aren’t you?
J.R.: Yes! In addition to the German works, we are going to reprise two wonderful pieces which were given last year – we feel that with great works that are rarely heard, there is no reason not to hear them again. Scarlatti’s beautiful soprano solo Christmas Cantata was thoroughly enjoyed last season, and Rebecca Beasley has agreed to sing it again for us. The libretto of this charming work about the birth of Christ was by the famous Cardinal Ottoboni, a humanist who was involved with the creation of some of the greatest Baroque music in Italy.  Finally, we will also reprise the sparkling villancico by Antonio Soler which also was so warmly received last year.
DBS: That sounds great.I can’t wait to hear those pieces again. Oh, and how about the traditional German Christmas Carol Singalong?
J.R.: Of course, the evening will conclude with the German Christmas Carol Singalong.
DBS: James, thank you very much. We look forward to celebrating the season with these great German and Italian Christmas selections.
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