Most performing arts groups have what’s known as a “gateway work” – an established, evergreen standard that brings in a big audience, year after year. Ballet has “The Nutcracker.” Orchestras have Beethoven.
The American Bach Soloists have their own “gateway.” (music) They draw thousands to their annual performances of Handel’s “Messiah.”
But the group isn’t called the American Messiah Soloists. The majority of their season is devoted to Bach. (music) They hope that some of the enthusiastic crowd that cheered “Messiah” will sample tonight’s program of less familiar Bach cantatas.
A Bach cantata is usually about 20 minutes long, featuring a choir and a small instrumental ensemble. Most have a sacred text. The cantatas are considered Bach’s greatest achievement, and he wrote over 200 of them – enough to keep the American Bach Soloists busy for a very long time. Musician Steven Lehning.
(Lehning, 18 years)
It’s not your standard classical experience. The Bach Soloists use period instruments, the kind that existed in Bach’s time. These instruments look -- and sound -- different than what you’ll find in a today’s symphony orchestra. Lehning plays a violone, which resembles the more familiar double bass.
When Lehning and the other members of the Bach Soloists perform with period instruments, they’re taking listeners back in time, into a sound world that existed 300 years ago.
(Lehning, Bach in his head)
For Lehning, it’s a chance to share the group’s passion for Bach’s musical univers
(Lehning, Invested 2)
Jeff Hudson, KXJZ News.