The Pacific Baroque Orchestra joins internationally renowned vocal soloists for beloved Christmas tradition at the Christ Church Cathedral
Early Music Society of the Islands (EMSI) and Christ Church Cathedral, in collaboration with the Northwest Baroque Masterworks Project, present Festive Cantatas: J.S. Bach Magnificat at Christ Church Cathedral, Saturday, December 17, 2016 at 8pm. This program features one of J.S.
Bach’s greatest masterpieces for choir and orchestra as it was heard during a Christmas Vespers service in Leipzig in 1723. Juno Award-winning Music Director Alexander Weimann leads the Pacific Baroque Orchestra and five internationally-renowned guest soloists in this seasonal celebration.
“I invite everyone to join us and celebrate the holidays with this festive and uplifting music,” says James Young, Artistic Director of EMSI. “Like the B Minor Mass – which we shared to great acclaim last summer – the Magnificat includes celebratory trumpets and timpani in several movements. Furthermore, this exuberant, virtuosic choral work uses soloists for the chorus parts, allowing the music to move freely, and for
the counter-point to be heard crisply and transparently. Bach’s masterpiece is the embodiment of the holiday spirit, and will evoke pure joy in all who hear it.”
This concert will include four rarely heard and delightful carol inserts that help to illuminate the Nativity story. These inserts harken back to the German custom of giving a dramatic representation of the Nativity story at Christmas Vespers. Their subject matter is the announcement to the shepherds, the angel’s song of praise and cradle song at the manger. The programme also includes Telemann’s uplifting Concerto for 3 Trumpets
in D Major (TWV 54) and Bach’s beloved Cantata 140 (Wachet auf).
The solos and choral parts will be taken on by the voices of five internationally acclaimed guest soloists. Molly Quinn, making her debut in Victoria, is a “radiant” soprano, possessing an “arresting sweetness and simplicity” (New York Times). Soprano Danielle Sampson, last heard in Victoria for EMSI’s Praetorius Christmas celebration, continues to be praised all over North America for her beautiful and passionate interpretations of Bach, Handel, and Purcell. Meg Bragle is now established as one of the world’s greatest Bach specialists. She recently made her BBC Proms debut with John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir and sings regularly with such esteemed ensembles as London’s Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenement, the Netherlands Bach Society, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra of New York, Les Violons du Roy, and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, among others.
American tenor Aaron Sheehan’s voice has been described as “superb: his tone classy, clear, and refined, encompassing fluid lyricism and ringing force” by the Boston Globe. He is one of the busiest tenors singing Bach in North America, and recently won a 2015 Grammy Award for his intepretation of the title role in the Boston Early Music Festival’s recording of Charpentier’s opera “La Descente D’Orphée“. Baritone Jesse Blumberg is equally at home on opera, concert, and recital stages, performing repertoire from the Renaissance and Baroque to the 20th and 21st centuries. This year he will perform major roles with the Boston Early Music Festival and Opera Atelier as well as in concert tours with the American Bach Soloists in San Francisco, Arion Baroque Orchestra in Montreal, and with Boston Baroque.
These singers will perform alongside the Pacific Baroque Orchestra (PBO). Recognized as one of Canada’s most exciting and innovative ensembles performing “early music for modern ears,” PBO brings the music of the past up to date by performing with cutting edge style and enthusiasm. Featuring many of the region’s best “period” instrumentalists, the orchestra all use original 18th century instruments or copies of original
instruments. All of the musicians are experts in what is known as “historical performance practice”. This approach allows modern audiences to hear this exquisite music played in a style that the composers would still recognize today. Far from being an exercise in historical recreation, this approach makes the music sound as fresh and exciting as when it was first composed.
ABOUT THE EARLY MUSIC SOCIETY OF THE ISLANDS (earlymusicsocietyoftheislands.ca) Based in Victoria, BC, the Early Music Society of the Islands (EMSI) is one of North America’s most active and successful Early Music organizations. It was founded in 1985 to promote interest in historically-informed performances of works composed before 1800. EMSI presents an annual concert series of music from the Middle Ages to the Early Classical. Each concert spotlights an internationally-acclaimed connoisseur of period music. The Society offers an early music bursary, arranges master classes with visiting artists, promotes the concerts of local musicians, and makes its period instruments available to the community.
LISTING INFORMATION Early Music Society of the Islands and Christ Church Cathedral present:
Festive Cantatas: J.S. Bach Magnificat
Date: Saturday, December 17, 2016 at 8pm
Pre-Concert Talk: Saturday, December 17, 2016 at 7:10pm
Address: Christ Church Cathedral
911 Quadra Street at Rockland Avenue
Victoria, BC V8V 3G8
Ticket prices: From $26 (member subscription) to $35
Box Office: earlymusicsocietyoftheislands.ca or 250-386-6121