Bach, Vivaldi, & Leo coming up May 1-4

Do you have your tickets for Bach, Vivaldi, & Leo yet? You do not want to miss this program which features vocal and instrumental works by Johann Sebastian Bach and two Italian masters. The concert will showcase the brilliant musicians of ABS as they perform well-known masterpieces along with a few gorgeous works that are worthy of greater fame.

A Trio of Bach Masterpieces

BVLSOLI1Music Director Jeffrey Thomas and the period-instrument specialists of ABS will perform a trio of works by Johann Sebastian Bach, beginning with his beloved Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor, with Elizabeth Blumenstock and rising Baroque violinist Cynthia Black performing the solo parts. Black, a recent ABS Academy graduate and featured soloist with leading groups such as Apollo’s Fire, makes her ABS debut with these performances.

Countertenor Ian Howell will be the vocal soloist for Bach’s cantata, Gott soll allein, mein Herze haben, BWV 169 (“God alone shall have my heart”). Bach composed the cantata in Leipzig for the 18th Sunday after Trinity, 1726. The work is for alto soloist and a band of instrumentalists with a prominent role for the organist.

German Baroque composers wrote dozens of works based on the model of the French Ouverture, however there are only four such pieces by Bach that have survived. In recent seasons, ABS has performed the first three of these Suites (C Major, B Minor, and D Major), and now will perform the fourth (D Major, BWV 1069). The layered textures and bold harmonic richness of these works established a lofty standard of sophistication in the genre; you don’t want to miss ABS’s performance of the Orchestral Suite No. 4!

Unforgettable Sacred Work by Vivaldi

BVLSOLI2Bach was heavily influenced by Vivaldi and transcribed the Italian master’s violin works in order to absorb their beautiful and soaring melodies. ABS, with Howell as vocal soloist, will perform Nisi Dominus, a sacred work that Vivaldi originally composed for an extraordinary vocal soloist in his Venetian ensemble at the Ospedale della Pieta. Set to the text of Psalm 127, the extensive nine-movement work traverses a wide range of moods and makes a powerful impact.

An ABS Premiere: Leo’s Violoncello Concerto in A Major

Known for his comic operas and sacred music, Naples-born composer Leonardo Leo also wrote a series of cello concertos during the 1730s while under the patronage of the Duke of Maddaloni, an accomplished cellist. In the ABS premiere of Leo’s Concerto for Violoncello in A Major, Gretchen Claassen, the 2015 recipient of The Jeffrey Thomas Award, will be the violoncello soloist. Read our interview with Gretchen Claassen here.

Excellent seats remain for the performances of Bach, Vivaldi, & Leo in Berkeley (May 2, 8:00) and San Francisco (May 3, 4:00 pm) and may be purchased online or by calling the ABS office at (415) 621-7900.