Saturday | November 2 | 4 PM

James Bagwell conducts Bach and Telemann

Soloists, Chorus, and the Berkshire Bach Ensemble

Click here for James Bagwell’s interview with WMHT’s Rob Brown.

The Berkshire Bach Society opens its 29th season on November 2, 2019 with a program of music by J.S. Bach and Georg Philip Telemann.  James Bagwell returns to lead an ensemble of 14 singers and instrumentalists in the Bach cantatas BWV 153, Schau, lieber Gott, wie meine Feind (See, dear God, how my enemies) and BWV 192, Der Herr denket an uns (God is mindful of us), plus Telemann’s Missa Brevis in C Major, TWV 9:15, and his setting of Psalm 96, Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied (Sing to the Lord a new song), TWV 7:30, and his Gulliver Suite for two violins.  The works are rich in contrapuntal textures, satisfying harmonies, vocal solos, and grand choruses.

Conductor James Bagwell is familiar to Berkshire Bach audiences as a master of choral technique and purity of sound, and in his realizations of the works on this program showcases the essential beauty of Baroque sacred vocal music.  Professor of Music and Director of Performance Studies at Bard College, Bagwell is internationally recognized for his work conducting choral, operatic, and orchestral music.  He has led important orchestras both in the U.S. and abroad, and he has worked with conductors from Charles Dutoit to Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Ricardo Muti, Andris Nelsons, Zubin Mehta, and others. The Berkshire Bach Society is pleased again to bring this accomplished conductor to our local Berkshires audience.

Bach and Telemann were close personal friends, but their musical careers took very different paths.  Bach was recognized as a master of counterpoint and one of—if not the—finest organist in 18th century Germany.  Telemann, four years older, was an international music celebrity, master of all styles, and creator of the world’s first music periodical, Der Getreue Musikmeister (The Faithful Music Master).  Despite its popularity today, most of Bach’s music was unpublished and largely forgotten after he died in 1750.  It took some 80 years and the efforts of Felix Mendelssohn and others to spark a lasting revival.  The first critical edition of Bach’s work was published in 1851 (100 years after his death), and his music has only grown in popularity since then.  In contrast, Telemann’s work appeared in publications throughout his career, adding to his stature and providing a clear link between the Baroque and Galant styles.  It was fairly shunned, however, from the 1830s on, just as the Bach revival gained ground.  Telemann’s music, ironically often mistaken for his friend’s, was criticized as inferior to that of Bach and Handel and lacking in deep religious feeling.  It wasn’t until the 1920s that Telemann’s work experienced a revival, and not until the 1950s—nearly 200 years after his death—that it was published in a critical edition.  Today, both masters are recognized as such, with the astonishing quality and quantity of their output available for audiences to enjoy.  That they were good friends makes it especially rewarding to hear their music side by side, and to compare stylistic similarities that are testament to the sophisticated idiom of each.


Bach, BWV 153, Schau, lieber Gott, wie meine Feind

1. Chorus
2. Rezitativ [A]
3. Arie [B]
4. Rezitativ [T]
5. Chorus
6. Arie [T]
7. Rezitativ [B]
8. Arie [A]
9. Chorus

Telemann, Missa Brevis in C Major, TWV 9:15

1. Kyrie eleison | Christe eleison | Kyrie eleison
2. Gloria in excelsis Deo
3. Laudamus te
4. Gratias agimus
5. Domine Deus
6. Quoniam tu solus sanctus
7. Cum sancto spiritu

Bach, BWV 196, Der Herr denket an uns

1. Sinfonia
2. Chorus
3. Arie [S]
4. Arie (Duett) [T B]
5. Chorus

Telemann, Gulliver Suite for 2 violins

1. Intrada
2. Lilliputian Chaconne
3. Brobdingnagian Gigue
4. Reverie of the Laputans and their attendant Flappers
5. Loure of the Well-Mannered Houyhnhnms and Wild Dance of the Untamed Yahoo

Telemann, Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied, TVWV 7:30

1. Sonata
2. Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied
3. Singet dem Herrn und lobet seinen Namen
4. Erzählet unter den Heiden
5. Denn der Herr ist groß
6. Es stehet herrlich und prächtig
7. Ihr Völker, bringet her
8. Bringet her dem Herrn die Ehre
9. Betet an den Herrn



Meet and Greet Reception to follow. Open to all.

First Congregational Church
251 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA

TICKETS | In Advance and at the Door

$25 Open Seating | $20 Berkshire Bach members
$50 Premium Seating

Open Seating Tickets are available in advance and at the door.
Premium seats are by Advance Reservation only.

Children and Full-Time Students free with ID