Wednesday, May 09, 2012

American Bach Soloists Perform a Late Easter

The Hunky Jesus contest in Dolores Park is long gone, but the holiday continues apace with the American Bach Soloists performing J.S. Bach's Easter Oratorio along with a couple of "favorite cantatas" this last weekend around the Bay Area.

Corey Jameson above, the early music professor at the San Francisco Conservatory, played the continuo for the concerts on a tiny organ, and the small orchestra with 16-member chorus sounded splendid. (Click here for a rapturous review by Lisa Hirsch at the San Francisco Classical Voice.)

Bach's 200+ cantatas are some of my favorite music in the world, but I realized after a while that I'd probably rather hear them at home on a recording rather than sitting in an uncomfortable church pew, even if it is at the very pretty St. Mark's Lutheran Church in San Francisco. For the record, my favorites at the concert were the two male soloists, tenor Jon Lee Kennan (his head poking out above left behind trombonist Douglas Thorley) and baritone Tyler Duncan (above right). Kennan is obviously just starting out but he has a great musical presence, and Duncan's voice was strong, flexible and lovely. It was also good to see the ubiquitous Sam Smith singing tenor in the chorus. That young man gets around.

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