Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cantata 140 and John Rutter’s Requiem will showcase a November 3rd All Saints Concert at Christ Episcopal Church, Church and Main Streets in Newton. The renowned Christ Episcopal Church Choir and chamber orchestra under the direction of Joseph Mello will perform these two master works: One traditional, the Cantata, and the other modern, the Requiem. Both selections will be highlighted by the choral excellence of the Christ Church Choir and its soloists, while backed by a chamber orchestra. The performance will begin at 4:00 p.m., and will be followed by a reception.
Joseph Mello, Director of Music at Christ Church, comments that the works were selected based on their content as well as the time of year. “We are doing the Requiem, because the concert follows All Saints Day, or All Souls Day. It has been paired with the Bach Cantata No. 140because it is also the beginning of Advent. The theme of ‘sleepers awake’ presented an excellent contrast with the piece by Rutter, since one was written in the Baroque period and the second is a contemporary work.”
Cantata 140 is one of Johann Sebastian Bach’s more famous church works and is a jewel in the more than two hundred plus church cantatas he composed. Known worldwide as Sleepers Awake, it was first performed in Leipzig in November, 1731. No. 140 has seven sections and is based on Philipp Nicolai’s hymn “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme” or “Zion hears the watchmen’s voices.”
Cantata 140 is written specifically for a four part choir, plus three soloists: Soprano, tenor and bass. A quality chamber orchestra gives great emphasis to the oboes and English horns. From the Coro fantasia in the first movement, Bach leads us through a musical journey to the aural magnificence of the final Chorale section “Gloria sei dir gesungen” or “May Gloria be sung to you.”
The November 3rd concert will be sung by the Christ Church Choir in the original German libretto for the Cantata.
In contrast to the Bach cantata, John Rutter’s Requiem is an adaption of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass. British composer, conductor and record producer John Rutter wrote and first performed the Requiem in 1985. A concert setting requires a soprano soloist, choir and orchestra.
The Requiem is written in seven sections. The first movement is the “Requiem Aeternam” and “Kyrie.” Movements two and six are based on Psalm 130 “Out of the deep” and Psalm 23 “The Lord is my shepherd,” respectfully. The final movement “Lux aeterna” comes from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and its Burial Service with “I heard a voice from heaven…” and the chant from the Tridentine Requiem Mass.
Featured guest soloists will include Deborah Mello, Shannah Timms Yerofeyeva, Susan Polcer and Andrew Padgett.
Doors will open at 3:30 p.m. for the 4:00 p.m. concert. Tickets are $20.00 and may be purchased from Lou’s Music Center, located at 120 Spring Street in Newton, call 973-579-5786, or from Christ Church Choir members, call 862-268-4720. A reception will follow the concert.
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