Easter Oratorio

Carmel Bach Festival

Carmel, CA, United States

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Bach’s Easter Oratorio opens with a festive movement featuring trumpets and drums joyfully heralding an Easter celebration.

This triumphant liturgical work portrays a dramatized biblical story through four characters: Maria Jacobi (soprano), Mary Magdalene (mezzo-soprano), and the apostles Peter (tenor) and John (bass). Surprisingly, this masterwork, first written as a cantata for Easter Sunday’s mass, is a reimagined expansion on a birthday cantata he wrote for Duke Christian von Sachsen-Weißenfels just two weeks before the Oratorio’s premiere. He continued to refine and embellish the Easter Oratorio up to the final few years of his life, adding arias and a four-part opening chorus, as well as altering instrument choices for select solos. The result is a superior example of Bach’s artistry and skill.

Bach’s Easter Oratorio invites the listener to indulge in intimate serenades. Solos and duets throughout the piece each offer their own charm, utilizing the unique character of an instrument to illustrate another component of the story. One duet between baroque flute and soprano paints Maria Jacobi (soprano) in dialogue with her own feelings or thoughts portrayed by the flute’s weaving melodic lines.

This performance will feature vocal soloists Clara Rottsolk (soprano), Meg Bragle (mezzo-soprano), Thomas Cooley (tenor), and Dashon Burton (bass-baritone).

Rameau’s Suite from Dardanus includes fourteen delightful musical vignettes. It opens in the spirit of a festive Renaissance dance highlighted by tambourin jingles and rhythmic drumming. The second and fourth movements star the baroque flutes’ floating melodies and luscious oboe lines. Movement five, Rigaudon, boasts captivating rhythmic undercurrents performed by the low strings. The final movement, Chaconne, features the warmth of the woodwind section, bright fanfares in the brass, and virtuosic passages in the strings leading to a satisfying, peaceful


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