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The Chorale will be singing selections from the following pieces on Good Friday at the Franciscan Monastery (pressroom.com/~franciscan):

O Come Ye to the Cross by Carissimi

O Vos Omnes by Casals

Surely He Hath Borne our Griefs by Graun

Tenebrae Facta Sunt by Ingegneri

Surely He Hath Borne our Griefs by Lotti

They Carried my Lord Away by Martin/Williams

Eheu, Sustulerunt by Morley

Agnus Dei by Palestrina

Our Lord Did Suffer Death by Schutz

Good Friday by Stevens

And No Bird Sang by Wagner

Tristis est Anima Mea by Kuhnau

That Virgin Child by Tallis

In the Departure of the Lord by Bull

Were You There-Traditional


The Monastery is located at 1400 Quincy Street, NE, Washington, DC  20017.  The service will begin at 8 pm. 



Concert later in the season:

The third concert in the series will take place on Saturday, May 15 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church (stmargaretsdc.org), 1830 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC.

The program will include:

O Quam Gloriosum (Motet) by Victoria

O Quam Gloriosum (Mass) by Victoria

Mass for Four Voices by William Byrd

Other music by Thomas Tallis and William Byrd



The first concert of this year's series took place at the Falls Church:



Bach’s predecessors will be featured in a joint concert of The Ron Freeman Chorale and the Orchestra of the 17th Century at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 14, 2004 at The Falls Church in Falls Church, Virginia.

 “We are very excited about this concert because these works are seldom heard, and we believe that some have never been performed in the United States,” said Ron Freeman, director of the Chorale.  “This is an excellent opportunity to hear some of the music which surrounded Johann Sebastian Bach as he grew up, and to appreciate the influence these composers had on his development.”

 Three of the cantatas in this concert are by the three immediate predecessors to Bach at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig:  Sebastian Knupfer, Johann Schelle, and Johann Kuhnau.  Kuhnau, upon his death, was replaced by Bach who served in this position from 1723 until his own death in 1750.

 “The music of his predecessors was located in the Thomaskirche library, and it is very likely that Bach studied this music carefully,” said Michael Holmes, director of the Orchestra.  “One can see a clear, steady evolutionary progression between the four composers, dispelling any myth that Bach came down to earth as if ‘from the hand of God.’  This program is instructive in that one can hear the North German culture that Bach inherited, both from his family and from several composers working in Northern Europe.”

 “This concert is a cross-section of late 17th-century German baroque style, where there is clever use of the instruments and highly dramatic choral writing,” noted Holmes.  “These composers also utilize brilliant and abundant rhetoric and word-painting.”

Such dramatic techniques were controversial when composers, notably Heinrich Schutz, introduced them into the German church repertoire during the century prior to Johann Sebastian Bach’s career.  While viewed with suspicion by church authorities, who distrusted the passion such music conveyed, the style found favor with musicians and congregations alike.

 “Even singing in the original old German, most modern choristers find that this music still carries the emotional impact of their texts,” says Freeman.  “It makes for a rewarding experience for both performer and listener.  We also include works by Andreas Hammerschmidt and Christian Geist, both of whom were familiar to Bach.  One of the most significant influences on Bach was Dietrich Buxtehude – I think most people have heard the story of Bach’s 200-mile trip on foot to hear the famous organist – so the Chorale program features two of his compositions.”

“It’s very unfortunate that these works have been ignored, because this is really fantastic stuff,” added Holmes.  “I suspect the reason is that they utilized instruments which fell out of favor during Bach’s lifetime, such as sackbut, recorder and viola da gamba.”

The Orchestra of the 17th Century uses period instruments and historically informed techniques, making it well suited to recreate this music as it would have been heard originally.  The Ron Freeman Chorale, now in its 32nd year, specializes in Renaissance and early vocal music.

This concert of 17th century North German composers is part of The Falls Church’s 2004 Lenten concert series.

For more information:

The Ron Freeman Chorale
(703) 525-1397

 Orchestra of the 17th Century

 The Falls Church