The Chicago area’s 50th annual Bach Week Festival opens with an overture: Georg Philipp Telemann’s Overture (Suite) in D Major for Two Trumpets, Timpani, Strings and Continuo, TWV 55:D18, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 28, at North Park University’s Anderson Chapel, 5159 N. Spaulding Avenue, Chicago.
The program features two large-scale sacred works of J. S. Bach: his New Year’s cantata “Jesu, nun sei gepreiset” (Jesus, now be praised), BWV 41; and motet “Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied” (Sing to the Lord a new song), BWV 225.
The cantata opens with an expansive chorale melody, backed by an orchestra of brass, percussion, woodwinds, and strings.
The motet is one of Bach’s most ambitious. It’s been likened to a three-movement concerto for double choir that requires virtuosic choral singing.
As part of the festival’s first focus on female composers, concertgoers will hear Raphaella Aleotti’s Late Renaissance motet “Angelus ad pastores ait” (The angel said to the shepherds), Maria Xaveria Peruchona’s Baroque Easter anthem “Cessate tympana” (Silence your drums), and Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s beautiful, early Romantic setting of the poem “Gebet in der Christnacht” (Prayer on Christmas Eve) for unaccompanied four-part chorus. Fanny and her younger brother, composer Felix Mendelssohn, championed Bach’s music. A remarkable pianist and gifted composer, she is said to have played 24 preludes from Bach’s “The Well-Tempered Clavier” from memory before a private audience at age 12.
Soloists are Lindsey Reynolds, soprano; Ryan Belongie, countertenor; Tyler Lee, tenor; and David Govertsen, bass-baritone, with the Bach Week Festival Chorus and Orchestra, North Park University Chamber Singers, and members of Bella Voce, conducted by Bach Week’s music director Richard Webster, with organist Jason J. Moy.
A new voice at Bach Week, Reynolds is a member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center Ensemble and the recipient of many first-place awards. She has appeared in concert with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra under Yannick Nézet-Séguin and with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Stéphane Denève. At Lyric Opera this season, she sang roles in Verdi’s “Don Carlos” and Rossini’s “Le Comte Ory.” She’ll make her Grant Park Music Festival debut this summer in a program conducted by Ludovic Morlot.
Another festival newcomer is Belongie, whom Opera News has praised for his “remarkably warm, evenly produced voice, and his supple phrasing [that] included many an exquisite shade.” His recent and upcoming Baroque music performances include a Midwest tour of Bach’s “St. John Passion” with the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra, a return to Music of the Baroque, the “St. John Passion” with the Apollo Chorus of Chicago and Elmhurst Symphony, and the role of Ottone in Claudio Monteverdi’s opera “L’incoronazione di Poppea” at Boston Baroque.
Supported in part by a grant from the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, the concert is a partnership between the Bach Week Festival and North Park University’s School of Music, Art, and Theatre.Anderson Chapel, North Park University
5159 N. Spaulding Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60625
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