Bach to Lunch: Noon Cantatas Provide Music for the Soul

Inevitably, the hustle and bustle of the D. C. downtown lunch hour is enough to discourage any hardworking employee from venturing out. Luckily, The Washington Bach Consort provides a unique opportunity for another type of nourishment. Without the worries of spending more money or the expectation or burden of the typical form and fashion that classical music concerts conjure, people can avoid the rush of the lunch hour and feast on the glorious music of Bach.

The new season of the Noontime Cantata Series began on October 4. This concert was held a New York Avenue Presbyterian Church due to the renovations to The Church of the Epiphany, the series’ regular home. It was quite amazing to see the church full on a weekday, almost like a weekend concert. Opening the program was Bach’s Concerto in d minor. Remarkably, the acoustics of the sanctuary lent itself very well to the strings and allowed the harpsichord to ‘sing’ into the room. Harpsichord soloist J. Reilly Lewis was in his full element in the ‘allegro’ executing the velocity of the work with ease. Generally, the entire concerto was played with a sense of excitement and verve. Notably, Scott Dettra was masterful in conducting the ensemble with a sense of subtlety,

Cantata BWV 167 Ihr Menschen, rühmet Gottes Liebe was sung superbly by a quartet of wonderful soloists from the consort: soprano Rebecca Kellerman Petretta, countertenor Charles Humphries, tenor Jason Rylander and bass Richard Giarusso. Tenor Jason Rylander sang his opening aria with a graceful elegance, with a noticeable attention to phrasing and vocal weight. Countertenor Charles Humphries was a new discovery. His vocal offering was the total antithesis of the stereotype of the countertenor vocal quality. Humphries sang with a full bodied delivery which brought depth to his aria which sang praise to God. A true jewel in the performance was the duet between Humphries and soprano Rebecca Kelleman Petretta. Petretta’s clear, high soprano floated above the warmth of Humphries rich countertenor. Bass Richard Giarusso’s recitative was delivered with an assured presence and led wonderfully into the final chorale with the four soloists resounding their voices together.

Join the consort on Tuesday, November 1 at Noon for the next cantata: Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes, BWV 76

Harpsichord Concerto in E Major, BWV 1053
Soloist: Todd Fickley

At the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, Washington, D. C.

Noontime Cantata Series

Washington Bach Consort Founder and Conductor J. Reilly Lewis greets Joel Martin, Artistic Director of the Savannah American Traditions Competition for Singers and Classical Music Journalist, Patrick D. McCoy. PHOTO CREDIT: Beth Lewis Photography


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