Winnipeg singers perform back-to-back Bach
Posted by John Wiens, conductor | Sunday August 26, 2012
Members of B'achtet: John Wiens, Marni Enns, Paul Wiens, Zohreh Gervais, Kirsten Schellenberg, Dan Peasgood, Robert Neufeld, Karla Ferguson (Sean McManus)
The Motets are the only music of Bach's to be performed without interruption from the time of his death until today.
—John Wiens, conductor
Two composers dominate the stacks of every music library - Richard Wagner and
J.S. Bach. While it might surprise you to think of them in the same breath, they
were musical extremists of their respective eras.
Often such composers are admired most.
This understanding has been overlooked when it comes to Bach. No other
Baroque composer dominated musical material more thoroughly than Bach. In every way -
harmonically, structurally, allegorically, and symbolically, no one has ever packed more into music than Bach, and no one ever will. Nearly every other
Baroque composer in Germany at that time wrote in a simpler style, unwilling to
go as far as Bach did.
No one could do it Bach's way ever again - and I
think the pieces that confirmed that more than any other piece were the motets.
Those that survive, especially those for 8 voices, are stunningly complex,
towering monuments of sound. W.A. Mozart was so impressed by Singet dem
that he wrote copies out for himself.
John Wiens, conductor (Ahsan Rahman)
The Motets are the only music of Bach's to be performed without
interruption from the time of his death until today. All other music he wrote
went (and may go again) to the wayside for a time. The motets, however, will
endure in perpetuity. They display a stunning mastery of tonal music that can
never be equalled.
John Wiens is originally from Morden, Manitoba. Now based in Montreal, he returns to conduct the Bach Motets on Sunday August 26, 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 61 Picardy Place.
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