For many, December with ABS usually means outstanding performances of Handel’s Messiah at Grace Cathedral and the Mondavi Center. This year, ABS will also be performing a special one-night-only concert, An ABS Christmas, on Saturday, December 14 at 8:00 pm at St. Stephen’s Church in Belvedere. Artistic and Music Director Jeffrey Thomas will conduct the ABS orchestra, the American Bach Choir, Baroque trumpeter John Thiessen, and soprano Shawnette Sulker in a program that features two superb works by J.S. Bach and a selection of holiday carols. One of the highlights of the program will be a performance of Bach’s Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, BWV 51, a virtuoso cantata for soprano and trumpet soloists, two violins, viola, and basso continuo. The appropriately extroverted opening aria finds the soprano and trumpet contributing dazzling lines in a thrilling exchange of musical ideas. The cantata’s chorale, “Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren,” is a gentle, intimate setting where the soprano’s lyric melody is supported by two violins. This section sets up the finale of the work, a fugue on the word “Alleluja!” that is an all-out display of musical fireworks.
Demanding precise execution and supreme breath control throughout, Bach’s exuberant music in the hands of two virtuoso soloists like Sulker and Thiessen will surely be given a beautiful and thrilling performance on December 14. Bach designated Cantata 51 for the fifteenth Sunday after Trinity, but later added “… et in ogni Tempo…” (“and for any time”). With the forces assembled for An ABS Christmas, December 14, 2013 is the perfect time to hear this magnificent work! The exciting program—which also includes Ehre sei dir, Gott, gesungen from Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio,” BWV 248, and holiday choral works by Britten, Conte, Howells, Rutter, Vaughan Williams, and Whitacre—will only be performed once. Currently there are only 34 tickets remaining. Tickets may be purchased online or by calling the ABS Office at 414-621-7900.
Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen was recorded by ABS twenty-five years ago with soprano Julianne Baird and trumpeter Barry Bauguess as the two soloists. That exquisite memento is available on the CD Bach Cantata Series: Vol 1 Solo Cantatas and can also be heard on the American Bach Soloists Player, but there really is no substitute for hearing Bach’s music in live performance by Jeffrey Thomas and the members of ABS. We look forward to seeing you on the 14th!
THIS PERFORMANCE IS SOLD OUT