Together, the Academy Participants, joined by the American Bach Choir and some well-known artists from ABS, presented the composition that Bach himself put forward as the most important chronicle of his life’s work. Knowing that, we feel lucky to participate in any way at all in bringing renderings of his score to audible form. It’s perfect music, and that sounds now like ineffectual understatement. It is also humbling music, not so much because of its difficulty — which is formidable, of course — but because we know that not a single note, not one sixteenth, or one dot, or one rest was placed on the page without tremendous thoughtfulness by Bach as to how those musical and/or rhetorical elements would be interpreted by those whose good fortune would bring them to a performance or even to a library to simply look at the magnificent way in which Bach, through music, impresses on our souls and minds his own particular reading of the liturgical texts that shaped his world and made it a better place for him.
And it is such an honor for me to work with some of the most superb musicians imaginable. Our Academy Participants, many of whom had never performed the work before, united in the most synchronous and collegial way to share one goal. The American Bach Choir were absolutely amazing. I count my blessings, especially every time I can stand in front of such fine musicians to help them shape their intentions to let our listeners hear what we see on the page. Thanks to everyone in yesterday evening’s performance!
Today, we begin three evenings of truly exciting performances when our Academy Participants take the stage for three presentations of the Academy-In-Action Series. If you have the evening free, hop on over to the Conservatory. You won’t believe how much gorgeous music you’ll hear!