Tallahassee Bach Parley: Charpentier Midnight Mass
A $10 donation is suggested, and free childcare will be offered.
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The Bach Parley concert on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, will begin with music from North Germany and conclude with a Mass for Christmas Eve in France.The first piece on the concert is by Dieterich Buxtehude, Jesu meines Lebens Leben (Jesus, my life's life). The entire text is set over four descending bass line notes which repeat many times. “When composers write over this four-note pattern the result is always hypnotic and passionate. This piece has been stuck in my head since I first heard it last June,” says Music Director Valerie Arsenault, “and we are happy to share this earworm.” When Johann Sebastian was 20 years old he walked 250 miles from Arnstadt to Lübeck to learn about musical style from Buxtehude.For traveling music from Germany to France, the period-instrument ensemble will play parts of a beloved Sonata by Georg Muffat, including a heartwarming G major Passacaglia, a form which also uses a repeating bass line. Arsenault says, “I love to play this piece because it's like a big musical hug that offers comfort and encouragement — and we can all use some of that sometimes!”For the finale, the Bach Parley Chamber Singers will rejoin with the players for Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Messe de Minuet pour Noël (Midnight Mass). The Latin words of the Mass are set to catchy and endearing French Noëls. Arsenault says, “We sing and dance our way through these lovely tunes, and we hope the concert will refresh and lighten everyone's spirits.”The performers are violinists Valerie Arsenault and Minyoung Cho, violists Melissa Brewer and Gesa Kordes, cellist Kim Jones, bassist Christian Marshall, harpsichordist Charles Brewer, and Karen Large and Sarah Jane Young on traverso flutes.This is music director Valerie Arsenault's 12th year leading the Bach Parley. The Bach Parley performs on period instruments – harpsichord and baroque style stringed instruments with gut strings, and on this concert, the flute is called a traverso, which is an early wooden version of the flute without keys to press down. The French word “parley” means discussion, and a key element of Bach Parley concerts is the commentary provided by Arsenault who gives historical context about the composers and the instruments and offers suggestions about what to listen for in the music.Arsenault says, “We are especially excited to welcome back our beautiful harpsichord after it spent a week at “the spa” having maintenance work done and getting all new strings for the first time since it was built in 1986. Our harpsichord has always sounded beautiful, and now even more so!”The Tallahassee Bach Parley is also the umbrella organization for a non-profit music school, The Bach Parley String Academy, now in its fifth year offering violin, viola, and cello lessons at St. John's Episcopal Church.The concert will be at 3PM on Sunday, November 10 at St. John's Episcopal Church, 211 North Monroe Street in Tallahassee. At all Sunday Tallahassee Bach Parley concerts this season, patrons will receive an insert in their programs with a discount coupon to use after the concert at participating downtown area restaurants. A $10 donation is suggested, and free childcare will be available.For additional information about the Tallahassee Bach Parley, including the Bach Parley String Academy music school, visit www.bachparley.org.Enjoy the music, the venue, and the magic of Baroque instruments with the Tallahassee Bach Parley.
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