Bach Week Festival | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Bach Week Festival 

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Now in its 30th season, Evanston's Bach Week Festival has made quite a dent in J.S. Bach's vast output. To keep the program lively, music director-founder Richard Webster often includes music from some of Bach's near contemporaries as well: one highlight of this year's edition is the chorale "Lobe den Herren" by Johann Kuhnau, a lawyer-turned-composer who was Bach's predecessor as cantor in Leipzig. It'll be performed on Friday at Saint Luke's Church by two of the most expressive bel canto singers in town--soprano Patrice Michaels and bass Douglas Anderson--along with the Bach Week Festival Chorus (a mix of choristers from Saint Luke's and other area churches), under the direction of Webster, who's known for his firm grasp of late Baroque style. Chicago Symphony Orchestra cellist Katinka Kleijn will play Domenico Gabrieli's Ricercare in a concert on Sunday, right before colleagues Michael Henoch and William Buchman put their polish on Vivaldi's Concerto for Oboe and Bassoon. And Michaels, mezzo-soprano Julia Bentley, tenor Harold Brock, and bass Peter Vande Graaff are the soloists in Bach's Cantata no. 78, "Jesu, der du meine Seele." Other featured performers during the festival include harpsichordist David Schrader, violinist Blair Milton, and hornist Daniel Gingrich. Each Friday's main concert is followed that evening by a more intimate "Candlelight" affair: on May 2 the Vermeer Quartet's violinist Mathias Tacke and cellist Marc Johnson are featured in a string trio arrangement of the Goldberg Variations, and on May 9 viola da gambists Mary Springfels, Craig Trompeter, and John Mark Rozendaal perform with Schrader as the ensemble Second City Musick (a homage to City Musick, the early-music orchestra that flourished in the early 90s). Friday and next Friday, May 2 and 9, 8 PM, and Sunday and next Sunday, May 4 and 11, 7 PM, Saint Luke's Church, 939 Hinman, Evanston; 847-236-0452.

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