Modesto Hosts American Premiere of Long Lost Bach Aria

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, September 6, 2005

(San Jose mezzo-soprano Janet Campbell and a small orchestra made up of strings and a harpsichord will perform "Everything With God" Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 8 p.m. at the Mistlin Gallery, 1015 J St. in Modesto.)

Earlier this year, a researcher named Michael Maul was sorting through a box of dusty stuff in a German library, relating to a long dead duke, who was once Bach’s employer. Maul found a manuscript, in Bach’s own hand. David Gordon, education director at the Carmel Bach Festival here in California, says it was a rare find.

“This is the first time in more than 30 years that anyone has found a piece by Johann Sebastian Bach that we didn’t know about.”

Bach wrote the aria in honor of the duke’s birthday. Composers often wrote short pieces for such occasions, ceremonial music that was typically played, and then forgotten.

“I would imagine that it was performed once, and then never heard or heard from again until 2005.”

The six minute aria is scored for soprano, strings and basso continuo. Gordon, who will give a lecture at tonight’s concert, is keen to experience it.

“This is a piece that nobody has heard for two, well, almost three hundred years.”

The aria will be performed tonight at 8 p.m. at the Mistlin Gallery, 1015 J St. in Modesto. Because it was just discovered, no commercial recording exists. But here’s a sample of a different Bach aria, just to put you in the mood.

(music out)