2017–18 SEASON

The Instrument of Kings

Friday, September 15, 7:30 P.M.

During Bach’s time, listeners and travelers throughout Europe describe the cornetto as the instrument of kings, heard far and wide in the major courts and churches, whose performances left listeners breathless with praise. Join Bruce Dickey, one of the world’s finest cornettists based in Bologna, Italy, as he performs works of Palestrina, Gabrieli, Frescobaldi and more, accompanied by Dutch organist Liuwe Tamminga, renowned for his performances of early Italian music.

B Minor Mass

Sunday, September 24, 6:00 P.M.

Fresh back from their tour of Germany, the Bach Choir joins the Bach Orchestra to perform the zenith of Bach’s output, the Mass in B Minor. Archived by son Carl Philipp Emanuel as The Great Catholic Mass, Johann Sebastian’s masterpiece may have begun as an attempt to bridge the gap between Lutherans and Catholics. Yet its completion only a year before Bach’s death shows not only his tremendous skill as one of the world’s greatest composers, but Johann Sebastian’s deep spirituality that he expressed through his music. With five splendid soloists, trumpet fanfares, sweet flute melodies, and virtuosic string writing, the Mass in B Minor is one of the masterpieces that has defined western music concerts for over 200 years.

Complete Bach Motets

Sunday, November 5, 6:00 P.M.

The virtuosic singers of the Bach Choir perform all seven of Johann Sebastian’s powerful motets. Most likely written for special occasions such as high feast days and funerals for the nobility, Bach’s masterpieces for choir and continuo showcase the beauty and push the limits of the human voice unlike any other choral works. From the brilliant and festive Singet dem Herrn to the rich and boisterous Lobet den Herrn, to the plaintive Komm, Jesu, Komm, the seven motets pair spectacularly to create a choral program of sheer virtuosity and beauty that explore the depths of human expression.

Bach Magnificat: Vespers for Advent

Sunday, December 10, 6:00 P.M.

“My soul magnifies the Lord!” cries the Virgin to the angel — which Bach’s pen echoes in his Magnificat in D Major. Join us in this special Bach Vespers with the full Bach Choir and Orchestra for works celebrating the Christmas story. Johann Sebastian’s composition on this magnificent text includes brilliant trumpet fanfares, plaintive melodies for oboe d’amore, and jubilant flourishes for strings, resulting in a tremendous musical proclamation to usher in the Christmas season.

New Year’s Day Organ Concert

Monday, January 1, 6:00 P.M.

What could be better than two hands at the organ? We say four! Our famous New Year’s Day Organ Concert returns again as Bach Society Houston organists join forces at the keydesk to perform organ duets by Bach, Mendelssohn, Tallis, and more.

Concerti for Three and Four Harpsichords

Friday, January 26, 7:30 P.M.

A concerto for two? Three? Four harpsichords? Yes — they do exist — and the mighty J.S. Bach wrote them — probably for his numerous harpsichord students while teaching at the University of Leipzig. Guest harpsichordists Mario Aschauer and Michael David Ging join the Bach Orchestra to present these spectacular works for the baroque period’s most popular keyboard instrument.

Sigurd Øgaard, Organ

Sunday, February 4, 6:00 P.M.

Acclaimed Norwegian organist Sigurd Øgaard returns to Houston! Among the most beloved organists who have performed with the Bach Society, Sigurd brings warmth, vitality, and virtuosity to the Bach Organ, presenting works by Bach, Buxtehude, Krebs, and little-known Norwegian composers.

Esther & Jonah

Friday, February 16, 7:30 P.M.

Presented in collaboration with Ars Lyrica Houston as part of the 2018 Houston Early Music Festival, this program comprises two concise music dramas from opposite ends of the eighteenth century: Handel’s Esther (1718) and Samuel Felsted’s Jonah (1775). With gorgeous arias and stirring choruses, Handel’s first English-language oratorio celebrates an Old Testament heroine’s ultimate victory over the forces of evil. Such works provided valuable models for Samuel Felsted, a composer born to an English family in Jamaica in the early 1740s. His concise setting of the story of Jonah and the whale is the first American oratorio.

Nigel North, Lute

Friday, March 9, 7:30 P.M.

With “freedom of expression rivaling the best jazz musicians”, Nigel North is widely regarded as one of the world’s finest lutenists. Here he performs Johann Sebastian’s haunting masterpieces for solo lute, which are among Bach’s rarely-performed works.

Bach Marathon

Sunday, March 18, 1:00–7:00 P.M.

Professional musicians (and those who are on their way!) volunteer their talents and perform Bach's music all day. Donations will benefit Houston Food Bank.

Handel Brockes Passion

Sunday, March 25, 6:00 P.M. | Friday, March 30, 3:00 P.M.

Barthold Heinrich Brockes’s poetic setting of the Passion narrative incorporates aspects of all four Gospels, and was regarded as one of the finest settings of the story during the baroque period. Indeed, no less than six settings by leading composers exist, the most beautiful and melancholy being by Handel. Join us for this chamber setting of the Brockes Passion, featuring tenor Tony Boutté as Evangelist and rising star baritone Phillip Gay as Jesus.

William Porter, Organ

Sunday, April 15, 6:00 P.M.

William Porter is one of the world’s leading interpreters and scholars of the German baroque organ repertoire, so how could we not invite him to play the famous Bach Organ! In addition to his magnificent interpretations of repertoire, Porter is also a spectacular improviser in the style of Bach and his contemporaries. Join us for masterpieces by Bach, Buxtehude, and more, and hear him improvise as the mighty Johann Sebastian may have done.

Bach Vespers for Easter

Sunday, April 29, 6:00 P.M.

The 2017–18 season concludes with Bach Vespers celebrating Eastertide. Bach’s fantastic Easter cantata Bringet dem Herrn Ehre seines Namens is a tour de force, complete with tremendous choral-orchestral fugues, a striking sinfonia, and gorgeous arias, all performed by the Bach Choir and Bach Orchestra, with strings, three oboes, and baroque trumpet.

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