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Virtuosity and Innovation

Friday, February 23, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.
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J.S. Bach:
Selections from The Well-Tempered Clavier
Partita No. 2 in D minor for Violin Solo, BWV 1004
Violin Sonata No. 6 in G, BWV 1019

Andrew Fouts

Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for Unaccompanied Violin opened up new possibilities of technique and expression for the instrument. The second partita is renowned for its last movement—the famous D minor Ciaccona—a piece of extraordinary scope and complexity often ranked among the composer’s greatest achievements. The 48 preludes and fugues that comprise the two volumes of The Well-Tempered Clavier bring together virtuosity and technical precision in a fashion rarely seen before or since. The elegant Sonata in G Major for violin and harpsichord rounds out this instrumental showcase.
Andrew Fouts, violin
Leon Schelhase, harpsichord

Commemoration: St. John Passion

Sunday, March 18, 2018 at 3:00 p.m.
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J.S. Bach:
St. John Passion, BWV 245
Bach never wrote an opera, but as with many “ what-ifs” in the history of art, it is tantalizing to speculate on what an opera by Bach might look and sound like. His St. John Passion offers perhaps the best insight into Bach’ s “ operatic” style. This action-packed treatment of the Passion story stands in marked contrast to the more contemplative St. Matthew Passion. Most notably, the rapid-fire dialogue that punctuates the piece reveals an instinct for dramatic pacing that would have been the envy of Mozart or Verdi. Paired with some of the composer’ s most poignant arias, the St. John Passion is a musical and dramatic experience unlike anything else.

Matthew Dirst is the founder and artistic director of Ars Lyrica Houston, a Grammy-nominated period-instrument ensemble that specializes in Baroque chamber and dramatic works. An award-winning harpsichordist, organist, and conductor, he is also professor of music at the University of Houston, where he is a member of the musicology faculty in the Moores School of Music.
Robert Petillo, Evangelist
Jason Widney, Christus
Katelyn G. Aungst, soprano
Barbara Hollinshead, alto
Matthew Loyal Smith, tenor
Steven Combs, bass
The Honorable & Mrs. John D. Rockefeller IV, underwriters


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Our Mission

Founded in 1977 by the late J. Reilly Lewis, the Washington Bach Consort is a professional chorus and orchestra noted for its performances of 18th-Century music on period instruments. Its mission is to perform to the highest artistic standards the music of J.S. Bach and his Baroque contemporaries.