Bach on Palm Sunday – Putting a concert together

It’s still over two months to our ‘Big Bach Bash’ on Palm Sunday, but lots of work has already been done. We’ve got all the players fixed (hurray!), and most of the singers. Everyone has been delighted to be asked – which is not that surprising, considering the programme is all Bach. Emailing people about this has been like sending wedding invitations; ‘come to be part of something really special!’
In England, the weeks leading to Easter are the busiest season for many musicians because of all the St John and Matthew Passions. But not here. As far as I know, this is the only Bach event in Victoria around then. Unfortunately, our forces couldn’t quite stretch to a Passion this year (but maybe in 2012..), but the Missa Brevis in A major, BWV 234 is a beautiful piece of music and deserves to be played and heard! (Bach wrote four of these shorter masses, also known as Lutheran Masses, which for some reason are rarely done, maybe because they are overshadowed by his grand B minor mass.) The instrumentation calls for two flutes and strings, which we could find fairly locally, and has some most beautiful textures in it.
The singers are all locals; some choristers from St John’s church choir – including the beautiful voices of the choral scholars, who are also going to be some of our soloists- and a few extras from around. It’s not exactly a professional choir, but neither was Bach’s (his choristers were all young students). And when everyone puts their best efforts and intentions in, a new level can be reached and both performers and listeners get to share in a very special experience. Music is always greater than us, but we are very privileged to be instruments for the music to speak through us.

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