ABS’s 2014 Subscription Series concerts begin with Bach’s Magnificat, an all-Bach program that will be presented in Belvedere, Berkeley, Davis, and San Francisco from January 24-27. To honor the group’s illustrious history and usher in the next twenty-five years of artistic excellence, ABS Music Director Jeffrey Thomas has handpicked some of his favorite works by ABS namesake, Johann Sebastian Bach, for the 2014 subscription series concerts.
The program begins with Bach’s grand secular cantata Tönet, ihr Pauken! Erschallet, Trompeten! BWV 214 (“Sound, your drums! Ring forth, trumpets!”) and Bach’s virtuoso Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B Minor featuring flutist Sandra Miller. Next will be one of Bach’s most extraordinarily impressive cantatas, Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir, BWV 130, a fantastically extroverted work composed for Leipzig’s lavish celebrations of the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels in 1724. Bringing back a hallmark of ABS’s cantata performances over the years, the audience will be invited to sing along on the final chorale. The final work on the program is one of Bach’s most popular sacred compositions, the Magnificat in D Major. This powerful setting is also one of the composer’s most succinct considering how comprehensive it is: a startling array of sweet and savory musical delights are encompassed within its economical 24 minutes.
The American Bach Choir will be featured on three of the program’s four selections. Directed by Thomas, this esteemed group of singers who “set the standard in choral singing” (San Francisco Classical Voice) will demonstrate their mastery in Bach’s exuberant and joyous music. Further augmenting the vocal forces for the January concert will be four exceptional vocal soloists: soprano Clara Rottsolk, countertenor Eric Jurenas, tenor Guy Cutting in his ABS debut, and baritone William Sharp.
Clara Rottsolk’s “clear, appealing voice and expressive conviction” (New York Times) have thrilled ABS audiences since this rising early music star’s 2012 debut with the ensemble in the early version of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. Countertenor Eric Jurenas, a participant in the 2011 ABS Academy, dazzled ABS audiences in this season’s performances of Handel’s Messiah in Grace Cathedral and the Mondavi Center. Tenor Guy Cutting makes his ABS debut in Bach’s Magnificat. After touring worldwide as a chorister with New College Oxford under Edward Higginbottom, Mr. Cutting has emerged in recent seasons as a distinguished solo artist and is the inaugural recipient of the Jeffrey Thomas Award. Rounding out the quartet of soloists is veteran baritone William Sharp, who has performed with American Bach Soloists for two decades, most recently appeared with the ensemble as Christus in Bach’s St. John Passion last season and as a member of the ABS Academy faculty.
Tickets for this Bach spectacular can be purchased on our website or by calling the ABS office at (415-) 621-7900.