Connoisseur Series 2022

Back On Stage

January through May 2022 brings our annual Subscription concerts.

Known as the “Connoisseur Series,” it provides opportunities for our audiences to delve deeper into the amazing repertoire of the Baroque era, offering the anticipation and excitement of works that may be less well-known than some, but that are spellbinding, enchanting, and powerful in their effectiveness.

This season, three distinctive programs will focus on a wide variety of rarely performed compositions along with a few enduring classics.

Sweet Harmony presents two demanding works by Bach along with some of Handel’s most celebrated music.

Passion & Joy offers a unique and almost never performed setting of the Saint Matthew Passion that ABS presented only once before, and it has been remembered to this day with crystal-clear realism by those who heard it 25 years ago.

Pious & Profane takes us to early 17th-century Italy to hear bravura vocal works by Monteverdi and stunning compositions for three violins, in one sonata spaced antiphonally throughout the concert hall.


Sweet Harmony

January 21-24 2022

Bach greatly admired the music of his forebears and was often criticized for his traditionalist approach to composition. Nevertheless, we find in his music many works that were forward-looking and innovative, favoring the rococo and galant styles that were taking hold throughout Europe.

The Missa in A Major is a curious amalgam of the traditional and contemporary, featuring a pair of a relatively “new” instrument on the scene, the flauto traverso. Bach’s explorations into the most up-do-date styles of his era came to monumental fruition in his last works, including “The Musical Offering,” a lofty zenith of Bach’s practically scientific application of musical forms that culminates in his most superbly crafted Trio Sonata.

Handel’s Water Music Suite that features the Baroque flute is paired with his charming Concerto Grosso in G Major, another work that brings the sweet-toned traverso front and center. Handel’s mellifluous setting of “Look Down, Harmonious Saint,” a paean to harmony by the 18th-century Irish author and poet, Newburgh Hamilton, praises music’s ability to “charm the soul, delight the ear, give us hope, and conquer fear.”

George Frideric Handel
Water Music Suite in G Major

Johann Sebastian Bach
Missa in A Major

Johann Sebastian Bach
Trio Sonata from "The Musical Offering"

George Frideric Handel
Look Down, Harmonious Saint

George Frideric Handel
Concerto Grosso in G Major, Opus 3 No. 3

Friday January 21 2022 8:00 p.m. • St. Stephen's Church, Belvedere
Saturday January 22 2022 7:00 p.m. • First Church, Berkeley
Sunday January 23 2022 4:00 p.m. • St. Mark's Church, San Francisco
Monday January 24 2022 7:00 p.m. • Davis Community Church, Davis

Yulia Van Doren soprano

Yulia Van Doren

soprano

Gabrielle Timofeeva López

Gabrielle Timofeeva López

mezzo-soprano

Jacob Perry Jr. tenor

Jacob Perry Jr.

tenor

Mischa Bouvier baritone

Mischa Bouvier

bass-baritone


Passion & Joy

March 25-28 2022

This program of soulful and moving compositions by four of the German Baroque’s most masterful composers begins with a 10-part setting of “Christ lag in Todesbanden” by Johann Pachelbel. Its seven movements unfold the deep richness of the composer’s reflections on the Easter text that Bach would later use for one of his earliest cantatas. And from the pen of one of Bach’s favorite composers, Dieterich Buxtehude, comes a bittersweet setting of the famous Eastertide chorale, “Jesu, meine Freude,” that would have been a great inspiration to Bach when he composed his own motet setting of the same verses several decades later. One of Bach’s earliest surviving cantatas, “Der Herr denket an uns” (Psalm 115: “The Lord is mindful of us”) is a joyful celebration of gratitude and blessedness that was probably composed to celebrate the wedding of the minister who had married Bach and his wife, Maria Barbara, about a year earlier. The Passion-themed orbit of this program finds its greatest resonance in a truly hypnotic and almost trance-inducing setting of the Saint Matthew Passion by Johann Theile. From its first movement to its last, Theile’s music mesmerizes the listener and grippingly captivates that attention until the final note.

Johann Theile
Saint Matthew Passion

Johann Sebastian Bach
Der Herr denket an uns, Cantata 196

Johann Pachelbel
Christ lag in Todesbanden

Dieterich Buxtehude
Jesu, meine Freude

Friday March 25 2022 8:00 p.m. • St. Stephen's Church, Belvedere
Saturday March 26 2022 7:00 p.m. • First Church, Berkeley
Sunday March 27 2022 4:00 p.m. • St. Mark's Church, San Francisco
Monday March 28 2022 7:00 p.m. • Davis Community Church, Davis

Mark Bonney tenor

Mark Bonney

tenor / Evangelista

Nola Richardson

Nola Richardson

soprano

Elijah McCormack male soprano

Elijah McCormack

male soprano

Jay Carter countertenor

Jay Carter

countertenor

Curtis Streetman bass

Curtis Streetman

bass


Pious & Profane

April 29 - May 2 2022

The Early Baroque era of Italian music brought a zenith of dramatic and technical display in the hands of new generations of virtuoso singers and instrumentalists. Composers and performers united in their course of revealing new depths of expression, color, and theatrical effects through music that is immediately thrilling and enthralling.

From the delicate and spatial interplay of three violins in Marini’s Sonata in Ecco to the full-throated and lovelorn dramatic vocal works of Monteverdi — including two epic narratives from his Madrigals of Love and War — this is a program that moves from mystery to magic and from the sacred to the secular.

Headliner works are Isabella Leonarda’s entrancing Sonata XII, Monteverdi’s Magnificat a 6 from the Vespers of 1610, and the same composer’s powerfully arresting setting of Torquato Tasso’s Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda. An ensemble of evocative ABS artists brings this passionate music to light in a program featuring vocal and violinistic fireworks. 

Giovanni Gabrieli
Sonata XXI con tre violini

Claudio Monteverdi
Magnificat a 6 from Vespers of 1610 & Beatus vir

Biagio Marini
Sonata in Ecco con tre violini from Opus 8

Claudio Monteverdi
Altri canti di Marte (from Madrigals of Love)
Hor che’l ciel e la terra e 'l vento tace (from Madrigals of War)

Giovanni Legrenzi
La rossetta Sonata a 3, Opus 8

Isabella Leonarda
Sonata Duodecima

Claudio Monteverdi
Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda

Friday April 29 2022 8:00 p.m. • St. Stephen's Church, Belvedere
Saturday April 30 2022 7:00 p.m. • First Church, Berkeley
Sunday May 1 2022 4:00 p.m. • St. Mark's Church, San Francisco
Monday May 2 2022 7:00 p.m. • Davis Community Church, Davis

Hélène Brunet soprano

Hélène Brunet

soprano

Julie Bosworth

Julie Bosworth

soprano

Nicholas Burns

Nicholas Burns

countertenor

Steven Brennfleck

Steven Brennfleck

tenor

David McFerrin

David McFerrin

baritone

William Meinert

William Meinert

bass

Address

P.O. Box 421986
San Francisco CA 94142

Contacts

Email: info@americanbach.org
Phone: +1 (415) 621 7900 
Fax: +1 (415) 621 7920
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