It’s Friday night, the beginning of a three-day weekend, and guess where the choir was tonight? At LCH, of course, where we had a dress rehearsal with orchestra for Sunday’s Bach Vespers! As I wrote in earlier posts, this is Carl’s final Bach cantata, and he made a point to thank the choir and especially the orchestra players, for their exceptionally high standards of performance. We have been to Bach performances at other churches, and our players stand head and shoulders above the rest!
Orchestra players who are performing with us this weekend include Darel Stark and Maile Reeves, violin I; Kathy Hafner and Judy Barrett, violin II; Anna Womack and Steve Flanter, violas; Karen Fujimoto, cello; John Gallagher, double bass; Marsha Schweitzer, bassoon; Brian Greene and Brad Shimizu, oboes. Brian had moved away to the mainland but came back for opera season, so we were happy to welcome him back.
We also want to thank our colleague from St. Andrew’s Cathedral, John Renke, for playing harpsichord in our Vespers. John also recently played continuo organ in Bach Cantata 51 and Handel Gloria while I was on the mainland playing a memorial service.
Tonight more than any other night, I realized that even though the instrumentalists have modern instruments, concertmaster Darel Stark is the one who has set the standard for playing in a very “baroque” style, with accents on strong downbeats and a light bowing style with minimal vibrato on weak beats.
That’s how the music dances! Believe me, the opening Bach chorus will have your toes tapping!
One of the most challenging pieces the choir is singing is “Thron der Liebe, Stern der Güte, Op. 18, No. 3” by Peter Cornelius. It is in 8 parts, meaning that there are double soprano, double alto, double tenor and double bass parts. The piece is highly chromatic with many accidentals, and goes through a myriad of key and tempo changes. Remember, we only started learning this music a week ago! Don’t worry, it will come together for Sunday night!