La Jolla, Calif. (April 1, 2011) — The La Jolla Symphony " Chorus (LJS"C) observes the Easter season with the best of choral music, J.S. Bach’s largest and most dramatic work, The Passion According to St. Matthew, on April 30 and May 1. Almost operatic in its spectacle and impact, this music requires two orchestras, adult and children choruses, and vocal and instrumental soloists. LJS&C Choral Director David Chase conducts.
One of three Passion settings by Bach, Saint Matthew Passion would become his grandest work ever. It was first performed on Good Friday 1727 at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, where Bach was cantor. Bach assembled his text from three sources. This Passion is based principally on the Book of Matthew, Chapters 26-27, with additional text by Leipzig poet Christian Friedrich Henrici, who wrote under the name of Picander. Picander’s 28 recitatives and arias expanded on the events from the gospel or expressed feelings of love and grief. Additionally, Bach turned to Martin Luther’s chorale tradition, breaking into the narrative 15 times with chorale tunes that comment on the action and suggest the reactions of the crowd.
Bach’s setting falls into two huge parts. The first, tells of the last supper, the betrayal of Christ by Judas, and Christ’s seizure by the authorities. The second part, tells of the trial, Peter’s denial, the crucifixion, and the burial. Bach’s deployment of his varied forces is imaginative, and individual characters, such as the Evangelist and Jesus, emerge in different ways. But it is the changing function of the chorus that may be the work’s most striking feature. At times, the chorus is a crowd surging uneasily through the streets; at others it can be the disciples or an angry shrieking mob. This fluid identity of the chorus is one of the most original features of the work.
Guest artists joining the symphony and chorus for these two performances include tenor Jon Lee Keenan in the radiant role of the “Evangelist,” soprano Angela Cadelago, mezzo-soprano Janelle DeStefano, tenor Benjamin Bliss, baritone Gregorio Gonzalez, bass Abdiel Gonzalez, and the North Coast Singers children’s choir.
The performances take place on April 30 and May 1, 2011 in Mandeville Auditorium at UCSD. Concert times are 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. Individual tickets are $29 general, $26 senior, and $15 student. Group discounts are available. Parking is free. A pre-concert lecture is offered one hour prior to concert times. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the LJS&C office at (858) 534-4637.
The La Jolla Symphony & Chorus, San Diego’s oldest and largest community orchestra and chorus, is a non-profit musical performing group dedicated to inspiring San Diego with the joy of music. Its 110-person orchestra and 130-person chorus perform groundbreaking orchestral and choral music along with traditional favorites from the classical repertoire. During this 56th season, themed Face the Music: Experiences for the Ears and the Eyes, Music Director Steven Schick shares the podium with David Chase, performing works by Bernstein, Mahler, Beethoven, Debussy, Bartók, Xenakis, Kline, and more.