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American Classical Orchestra Presents Bach's B Minor Mass with Period Instruments and World-Renowned Soloists at Lincoln Center

By Jon Sobel j.sobel@classicalite.com on Oct 10, 2014 10:08 AM EDT

The American Classical Orchestra will present its first-ever performance of J.S. Bach's Mass in B Minor on Saturday, November 15 at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall.

Conductor Thomas Crawford will lead the orchestra and the American Classical Orchestra Chorus along with soprano Christine Brandes, mezzo-soprano Kate Maroney, countertenor David Daniels, tenor Charles Blandy and bass Dashon Burton. The 7:30 concert will be preceded by a pre-concert lecture by Maestro Crawford at 6:30.

Founded in 1985, the American Classical Orchestra uses period instruments to present "music as the masters heard it." Crawford explains, "There are many compelling reasons to use original instruments, but possibly the most appealing is the more openly transparent textures they provide. In the case of Bach's B Minor Mass, we have some of the densest, most complex textures ever written, so I think it is particularly valuable to use period instruments."

Bach completed the Mass in 1749, having assembled it over a long period from music he had written over the course of his career. As Crawford describes it, the Mass "surveys the human soul from sorrow to ecstasy. This piece shows one of the greatest composers of all time writing at the height of his craft. The solo music for flute, oboe d'amore, violin, trumpet, and voice represents the apex of Bach's evolution as a master of counterpoint. The choral writing is without equal."

The soloists are an accomplished group. Two examples: David Daniels made history when he became the first countertenor to give a solo recital in Carnegie Hall's main auditorium. This season he assumes the title role in Theodore Morrison's opera Oscar, based on the life of Oscar Wilde, with Opera Philadelphia, and will make his company debut with the Wiener Staatsoper as Trinculo in the Robert Lepage production of Thomas Adès's The Tempest, conducted by the composer. Soprano Christine Brandes returns to Seattle Opera this season as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. Last season she performed Haydn’s Mass No. 10 in C Major "Paukenmesse" and Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 1 "Jeremiah" with the Santa Rosa Symphony.

The ACO, founded by Crawford 30 years ago in Fairfield, Connecticut as the Orchestra of the Old Fairfield Academy, has become the leading period instrument ensemble in New York City, where its mission is "to present historically informed performances that add to the cultural landscape of New York City and that are historically intriguing and emotionally captivating." For its educational work the orchestra has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant and an Early Music America prize.

For tickets to the B Minor Mass concert on November 15, visit the American Classical Orchestra website, Lincoln Center's website, or the Alice Tully Hall box office.

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TagsBach, J.S. Bach, B Minor Mass, Aamerican Classical Orchestra, Thomas Crawford, period instruments

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