April 14 & 15, 2017

Carina Nebula 06 by Herschel (2)

Carina Nebula from Herschel Space Observatory, NASA

Bach–St. John Passion, BWV 245


MBM will conclude the 2016–17 season on April 14 & 15 with period performances of one of J. S. Bach’s towering masterpieces, the St. John Passion. In the St. John (first composed in 1723-24), Bach focuses largely on the inevitability of Jesus’ passion story―this is in contrast to Bach’s next setting of the Passion in his St. Matthew Passion (c. 1725-26), which emphasizes the humanity of Jesus’ story. From its outset, the St. John, with the whirling gear-like figures in the strings underneath the moiling of the oboes, has the other-worldly aura of a story which has been foretold. Bach’s genius is how he maintains a sense of forward dramatic direction: the passion story must happen, has already happened, but it also must be played out in real time by living people, step by painful step.

Internationally-acclaimed tenor Dann Coakwell will sing the part of the Evangelist John. Baroque performance specialist Marc Vallon will direct the vocal soloists, ensemble, and a full baroque orchestra. Come hear gut-strung violins, violas and cellos, viola da gamba, viola d’amores, baroque oboes, baroque flutes, baroque bassoon, positif organ, and glorious voices join together in the rich acoustics of the First Unitarian Society’s Atrium Auditorium.

Madison Bach Musicians Artistic Director Trevor Stephenson will give a pre-concert lecture on the structure and performance history of Bach’s St. John Passion. In addition, Reverend Michael Schuler, Senior Minister of First Unitarian Society will offer his theological reflections on Bach and this masterpiece as the “sermon” that historically followed Part I of the Passion music.

Friday, April 14, 2017
6:45 pm lecture/ 7:30 pm concert

Saturday, April 15, 2017
6:45 pm lecture/ 7:30 pm concert
First Unitarian Society of Madison–Atrium Auditorium


Conductor   Marc Vallon

Evangelist   Dann Coakwell

Sopranos   Alisa Jordheim • Chelsea Shephard • Chelsie Propst 

Countertenors   Andrew Rader • Joe Schlesinger 

Tenors   Wesley Dunnagan • Ryan Townsend Strand

Bass   Joshua Copeland • Richard Ollarsaba 

Baroque Violin   Kangwon Kim, concertmaster • Brandi Berry (also viola d’amore) • Christine Hauptly Annin • Lori Ashikawa • Nathan Giglierano • Mary Perkinson

Baroque Viola   Marika Fischer Hoyt (also viola d’amore) • Ilana Schroeder

Baroque Cello   Martha Vallon, Principal Continuo • Anton TenWolde • Anna Steinhoff (also viola da gamba)

Baroque Bass   Ross Gilliland

Baroque Oboe   Luke Conklin • Aaron Hill

Baroque Flute    Linda Pereksta • Taya Tarasevich

Organ Continuo    Trevor Stephenson