St. George's opens the season with Bach and Haydn
by Laura Daly for Vocal Area Network
Posted November 13, 2018

Matthew LewisOn Sunday, November 18, St. George’s Choral Society will kick off the 2018-2019 season with their "Fall Concert with Orchestra" at the Church of Incarnation. The concert will feature complex and beautiful music by two of our great masters, Bach and Haydn.

The motets of J. S. Bach are brilliant works, posing challenges and rewards to choral singers. They are filled with technical demands (fast passages, sustained singing, German diction, rhythmic precision, to name a few). Scored for double chorus, Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf (The Spirit gives aid to our weakness) is in three sections: an opening Allegro for double chorus, a contrapuntal section for four parts and a closing chorale, all sung in German.

Haydn's Missa Cellensis in Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary is rarely done. With so many wonderful masses by Haydn, it is still surprising that this one is often overlooked. Exciting, dramatic choral movements, together with some of the most amazing solo movements of any mass setting, make this piece a spectacular concert item. The orchestra writing is particularly tricky—Haydn is never predictable! Singers have enjoyed the opportunity to focus their technique with these two masterworks, and audiences, unaware of the technical demands, will enjoy a delightful concert.

The concert will feature the soloists Kara Dugan, Rebecca Farley (a return soloist), James Reese and William Guanbo Su. Matthew Lewis conducts.

St. George’s Choral Society will perform Bach’s Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf, BWV 226 and Haydn’s Missa Cellensis, "Cecilia Mass," Hob XXII:5 on Sunday, November 18 at 3 PM in the Church of the Incarnation, 209 Madison Avenue (at 35th Street). Tickets are $30 and are available online or in person at the venue on the day of the concert.

Laura Daly is manager of marketing and artist relations for the St. George's Choral Society.