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Boston Bach Birthday: It’s Back


First Lutheran Church of Boston will hold its annual celebration of Bach and his music on Saturday, March 20th to honor the 336th anniversary of Sebastian’s hatching. In-person attendance will be limited, but all five- and one-half hours of music will be transmitted through Facebook. FLC encourages virtual attendees to enjoy the customary sausage, Kraut und Rüben at home. Prosit neue Bach Jahr!

Current conditions impel the BBB to return to its roots with an all-day series of recitals featuring local talent. Performances from a lonely organ loft distance the recitalist from the audience, as will an outing from a solo pianist; the only ensemble occupying space together comprises a family unit. Livestreaming, and we mean “live,” will come as a first a first for the BBB.

At 9am FLC Kantor Jonathan Wessler will play the “Great Eighteen” organ chorales of Bach; Louise Mundinger follows at 10:45am with a fascinating program on the four seasons centered on Bach’s Four Duetti, S.802–805. At 1pm Erica Johnson will play works of Bach and his son Carl Philipp Emanuel, followed by more organ works of JS at 3pm (Jeremy Bruns) and 4:10pm (Wesley Hall).

In addition to the organ-related festivities, the Timko Family, members of First Lutheran, will play music of Bach and Petzold on the violin. Also, Noam Elkies will play Yuri Tulin’s piano transcription of Bach’s first Brandenburg concerto in honor of the 300th anniversary of those concertos), as well as his own “Two-Bit Invention”, composed in honor of his first haircut since March 2020 (!).

Absent a proper Vesper service with festival choral music, Wessler will close this year’s festival at 5:30pm with music heard at a mid-17th-century north German Orgelvesper (Organ Vespers); tenor William Farrell will supply the requisite chants. Those desiring to attend should sign up promptly HERE for the limited seating. To watch the recitals live from home, please visit HERE.

Deo volente, the Boston Bach Birthday will be back in 2022 in its full incarnation, on Saturday March 19th. In the meantime, here’s the music you can hear in this year’s recitals (all by JSB unless otherwise noted):

Fowkes organ in First Lutheran Church

Fantasia super Komm, Heiliger Geist (canto fermo in pedale)
Komm, Heiliger Geist (alio modo a 2 clav. e pedale),
An Wasserflüßen Babylon (a 2 clav. e pedale),
Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele (a 2 clav. e pedale),
Trio super Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend (a 2 clav. e pedale)
O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig (3 versus)
Nun danket alle Gott (a 2 clav. e pedale, canto fermo in soprano),
Von Gott will ich nicht lassen (canto fermo in pedale)
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (a 2 clav. e pedale
Trio super Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (a due bassi e canto fermo)
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (in organo pleno, canto fermo in pedale
Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr (a 2 clav. e pedale, canto fermo in soprano)
Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr (a 2 clav. e pedale, canto fermo in tenore)
Trio super Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr (a 2 clav. e pedale)
Jesus Christus, unser Heiland (sub communione, pedaliter)
Jesus Christus, unser Heiland (alio modo)
Komm, Gott Schöpfer, Heiliger Geist (in organo pleno con pedale obligato)

10:45am  |  LOUISE MUNDINGER, organ
Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr
Duet I in e
Dies sind die heiligen zehn Gebot
“Triangular” fugue, op. 43, no. 12 (2008) — Rachel Laurin
Duet II in F
Vater unser im Himmelreich
Lenten (Spring), from Embertides (2014) — Hilary Tann
Duet III in G
Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam
Whit (Summer), from Embertides (2014) — Hilary Tann
Duet IV in a
Fantasia sopra Jesu, meine Freude
Tiento de falsas, from Three Tientos (2015) — Carlotta Ferrari (b.1975)
Wir glauben all’ an einen Gott

12:00pm  |  THE TIMKO FAMILY, violin
Sonata no. 3 in C—III. Largo
Suite no. 6 in D—V. Gavotte I & II
Minuet in G, BWV Anh. 114 — Christian Petzold

1:00pm  |  ERICA JOHNSON, organ
Partita no. 3 in a
Sonata in F, Wq 70/3, H 84 — Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
Prelude & fugue in G

2:10pm  |  NOAM ELKIES, piano
“Brandenburg” concerto no. 1 in F, S. 1046 — arr. Yury Tulin
“Two-bit” invention (2021) — Noam Elkies

3:00pm  |  JEREMY BRUNS, organ
Prelude & fugue in a
Pastorale in F
Fantasia in g
Sonata no. 6 in G
Fugue in g

4:10pm  |  WESLEY HALL, organ
Prelude & fugue in C
Sonata no. 5 in
Fantasy & fugue in c
Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort
Wenn dich Unglück tut greifen an
Praeludium in C

Praeludium in g, BuxWV 148 — Dieterich Buxtehude
Omnia quae fecisti nobis — Orlande de Lassus, arr. Heinrich Scheidemann
An Wasserflüßen Babylon — Johann Adam Reincken
Magnificat septimi toni — Hieronymus Praetorius
Benedicamus à 6 Voc — Samuel Scheidt

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