As I reflect on our three concerts from the past season, I am proud of our achievements.
We met several milestones for our organization: We continue to present high quality performances of little-known music of the Baroque period. With our February concert of three Bach cantatas performed in the magnificent Trinity Lutheran Church in Soulard, we featured the largest instrumental ensemble that we have ever used, including trumpet, 2 oboes, flute, bassoon, strings and organ. We added to our roster of talented singers with the appearance of soprano Emily Truckenbrod in our February and May concerts and bass-baritone Robert Reed on our Bach concert.
A few performances that remain vivid in my memory from this past season include Nathan Ruggles’ colorful performance of Telemann’s “Der Schulmeister” in October, Robert Reed with John Korak on trumpet, in the stirring bass aria from Cantata #5 in February, and Stephanie Ruggles, contralto, lyrical performance of Scarlatti’s solo cantata, “Son io, barbara donna,.” Each one of our performers is a standout in their field, so it’s really not fair of me to single anyone out for special notice. However, these seemed to me occasions where the music and performer met in a special way.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all our supporters who come to our concerts and offer financial support that allows us to produce these rare concerts of worthy, but often neglected compositions. I was particularly gratified by the response to our appeal for donations to help with the purchase of the Roland portable organ that we have been borrowing from Concordia Seminary over the past couple of years. The acquisition of this instrument, along with the generous donation by Elizabeth Horsley a couple of years ago, of a harpsichord, now enables us to function much more independently with these crucial keyboard continuo instruments.
Looking ahead to the coming season, I have been working on the music of François Couperin, whose 350th anniversity of his birth we will be celebrating in the fall. An organist, Couperin was one of the most outstanding musicians and composers of his day. We will be focusing on his sacred music, composed for Louis XIV and performed at Versailles. In the Winter, we will be presenting another in our series of concerts of modern premieres of sacred cantatas of Christoph Graupner. We are very excited to be among several international ensembles presenting these works for the first time since they were performed under Graupner himself. Our Spring concert will present vocal chamber music of the brothers Giovanni Bononicini and Antonio Maria Bononicini. While Giovanni, a well-known rival of Handel, is more famous than his younger brother, Antonio, I have found some really wonderful pieces that we will be presenting that demonstate Antonio’s considerable talent and well-developed skill.
Each of our programs is a labor of love for me. In the first place, I love searching for interesting music and matching each piece to one or several of our very talented performers. It is equally rewarding for me to join them in the preparation of this music for performance. Perhaps most satisfying is presenting each program to our loyal audience, enabling them to discover music that they would not have access to otherwise.
I hope to see you next season. Please tell your friends.
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