Join our friends at the Cathedral for their upcoming concerts:
PostClassical Ensemble & Washington National Cathedral Choir conducted by Angel Gil-Ordóñez
Kevin Deas, bass-baritone
Chris Gekker, trumpet
This one-of-a-kind program intermingles classic spirituals with classic religious arias, exploring an expression of religious fervor common to both. The arias sample Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and St. Matthew Passion; Handel’s Messiah and Judas Maccabeus; and Mendelssohn’s Elijah. The spirituals sample arrangements by Harry Burleigh and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.
Burleigh (1866-1949), once Dvorak’s New York assistant, played a crucial role in bringing spirituals into the concert hall. His “Deep River” transcriptions, in 1916, created what was for decades the iconic African-American spiritual. As a baritone soloist, Burleigh’s specialties included Mendelssohn’s Elijah.
Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) was a black British composer who discovered his African roots in Washington, D.C. His “Negro Melodies” for solo piano (1905) were a landmark in bringing spirituals to wider attention.
Our featured soloist is the supreme African-American bass-baritone Kevin Deas (“stentorian” – Anthony Tomassini, The New York Times)
Only once Mendelssohn led a revival of J.S. Bach's music did it begin to attain its universal admiration as the most consequential in the canon. Mendelssohn's personal fascination with Bach's music reveals itself in his own compositions with references to specific works.
Diderot String Quartet brings to life - on period instruments - Bach's The Art of the Fugue. It is paired with Mendelssohn's rarely heard Fugue for String Quartet, Op. 81/4. The program concludes with Mendelssohn's beloved String Quartet No. 2, Op. 13, paying homage to the baroque master in its own fugal ways.
Fugue in Eb major, Op. 81 No. 4
Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847)
BWV 1080 Art of the Fugue (excerpts)
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)
String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 13
As the Christian church enters its Holy Week devotions, the Cathedral Choir performs JS Bach’s towering B minor mass. The mass form, which finds it root in the events of the Last Supper is richly eloquent in the hands of JS Bach. Celebration and solemnity go hand in hand and captures the bittersweet experiences of Christ’s death and resurrection. The is no better way to experience this masterwork than on Palm Sunday in Washington National Cathedral, performed stylistically as Bach would have heard it.
Laura Choi Stuart – Soprano
Sarah Davis – Soprano
Roger Isaacs – Countertenor
Matthew Hill – Tenor
Matthew Smith – Tenor
Richard Giarusso – Baritone
Steven Combs – Bass Baritone
Featuring: Washington National Cathedral Choir, Washington National Cathedral Baroque Orchestra
Conductor: Michael McCarthy