If you missed the first 243 Bach Cantatas performed over the past five years in the “Bach at One” series at St. Paul’s Chapel in downtown Manhattan, you still have a chance to hear the final six cantatas—two each on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, May 23, 24, and 25—at 1 p.m., of course. (And the concerts are free, although a basket is passed around for contributions.)
Led by the charismatic conductor Julian Wachtner, the world-class Trinity Baroque Orchestra and Choir of Trinity Wall Street have been performing every one of Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantatas (composed in Leipzig, Germany, between 1723 and 1745 for regular Sunday church services, holidays, and weddings or inaugurations). These peerless early-music professionals pour their hearts and souls into music that is richly varied and deeply engaging, expressing a range of emotions from the greatest joy to the deepest sorrow.
St. Paul’s Chapel, at Broadway and Fulton Street, is the oldest surviving church in New York City. It was founded in 1766; and George Washington prayed there after his inauguration as President in 1789. Located across the street from the World Trade Center site, it served as a place of rest and refuge for survivors and recovery workers on and after the 9/11 attacks.
The orchestra and soloists perform in the center of St. Paul’s Chapel, with members of the chorus in the north gallery above, while the audience sits in chairs arranged directly in front of, and to one side of, the orchestra. These concerts are extremely popular, so get there early to get a seat.
To catch up on some of the previous concerts, watch the videos at https://www.trinitywallstreet.org/videos/music/bach-one. You’ll also be able to hear some of the cantatas you missed during the “‘Best Of’ Bach at One” series in fall 2016.
Lead-In Image: Composite
* Portrait of Bach Courtesy of Everett Historical / Shutterstock.com