California Bach Society is a 30-voice chamber choir specializing in Renaissance and Baroque music, presenting four concerts each year in Palo Alto, San Francisco, and Berkeley. The 2014-2015 season will include Baroque music from Versailles, German music for the Nativity, early cantatas by J.S. Bach, and music by Scarlatti, Schütz, and Carissimi.
Our 2014 - 2015 Season
Doors open 30 minutes before each performance.
Tickets may be purchased online, by phone, or at the door.
* Please note that some venues may be different from previous concerts. *
A German Christmas
Music for the Nativity from the Baroque to the present
Fri, Dec 5, 2014, 8pm at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in San Francisco
Sat, Dec 6, 2014, 8pm at All Saints' Episcopal Church in Palo Alto
Sun, Dec 7, 2014, 4pm St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Berkeley
We travel to Germany for Christmas to explore the wealth of rarely heard musical treasures from the early Baroque through the twentieth century. Johann Ahle's cantata Fürchtet euch nicht features a dramatic dialogue between a choir of angels and a choir of shepherds. Andreas Hammerschmidt is represented with his stirring setting of Machet die Tore weit and the charming motet Sei willkommen, Jesulein. Felix Mendelssohn's Frolocket ihr Völker auf Erden is among several lyrical gems of the nineteenth century. We connect the past to the present with a beautiful neoclassical setting of Maria durch ein Dornwald ging by Günter Raphael and Hugo Distler's lovely Est ist ein Ros entsprungen. The chorus will be joined by a lively Baroque consort of bassoons and sackbuts.
The Early Cantatas
Works from the young J.S. Bach
Fri, Feb 27, 2015, 8pm at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in San Francisco
Sat, Feb 28, 2015, 8pm at All Saints' Episcopal Church in Palo Alto
Sun, Mar 1, 2015, 4pm St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Berkeley
Bach's earliest cantatas, composed at Arnstadt and Mühlhausen, are modeled upon those of his older contemporaries, notably Johann Pachelbel and Dietrich Buxtehude. Last season we featured Pachelbel's chorale cantata on Christ lag in Todesbanden; this season we present Bach's more familiar and beloved chorale cantata of the same name. We will also perform Aus der Tiefen ruf' ich, Herr, zu dir, a penitential cantata, which skillfully juxtaposes verses of Psalm 130 with the verses of a Lutheran chorale. We finish with Bach's earliest surviving cantata, Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich, composed during his brief time at Arnstadt. Bach composed choral fugues with richly imitative counterpoint for the chorus in four of the seven movements.
An Italian Lineage
Carissimi, Scarlatti, Verdi, and Pizzetti
Fri, Apr 24, 2015, 8pm at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in San Francisco
Sat, Apr 25, 2015, 8pm at All Saints' Episcopal Church in Palo Alto
Sun, Apr 26, 2015, 4pm St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Berkeley
The master composers of the early Baroque included many Italians, among them Giovanni Gabrieli, Claudio Monteverdi, and Giacomo Carissimi. Domenico Scarlatti, better known for his keyboard sonatas, was also a superb composer of religious music; we will present one of the first performances of his recently discovered Missa Breve "La Stella" for double choir. In the twentieth century, choral and chamber works by Italian composers were often neglected by a public more interested in opera. Ildebrando Pizzetti's beautiful Messa di Requiem is one such piece, composed in a modern, yet consciously neo-Renaissance style. Pizzetti's student Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco composed Romancero gitano, based upon poetry of Federico García Lorca, for choir and solo guitar.
Splendor at Versailles
Baroque music from the court of Louis XIV
Fri, Oct 17, 2014, 8pm at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in San Francisco
Sat, Oct 18, 2014, 8pm at All Saints' Episcopal Church in Palo Alto
Sun, Oct 19, 2014, 4pm at *First Congregational Church* in Berkeley
From the elegant court of Louis XIV, the "Sun King," we present glorious music by three of the greatest composers of the French Baroque. Henri Du Mont and Michel Richard Delalande each served as director of music at the Royal Chapel in Versailles. Du Mont's richly textured Magnificat features soloists, chorus, and a small orchestra. Delalande's lively setting of Psalm 98, Cantate Domino canticum novum, for chorus and orchestra, is one of over seventy motets he composed for the Royal Chapel. Most famous of the three, Marc-Antoine Charpentier was active at the Royal Chapel in Paris, and served Louis' son, the Grand Dauphin. His beautiful Messe des morts from the mid-1690s, with its sepulchral scoring of strings and flutes and serenely imitative polyphony, is one of his most affecting works. Paul Flight leads the chamber chorus and a fine Baroque orchestra, with featured soloists: soprano Jennifer Paulino, mezzo soprano Christina Schiffner Santschi, tenors Brian Staufenbiel and Mark Bonney, and baritone Sepp Hammer.
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