Onstage at Green Music Center

Sonoma Bach

Sonoma Bach’s mission is to bring together and nurture a community of music-lovers in our beloved Sonoma region to share in the magnificent experience of early music. We know that this music from the distant past—sacred and worldly, vocal and instrumental, solemn and joyful—can speak powerfully to today’s audiences, and we reach out not only to those already familiar with its pleasures and beauties and traditions, but also to those for whom the music is brand-new.

Sonoma Bach – Organ Recital<br>Candle in the Wind

Sonoma Bach – Organ Recital
Candle in the Wind

Anne Laver, organ
Sonoma Bach Choir

Friday, January 11, 8pm
BachGrounder pre-concert talk, 7:25PM

Organist Anne Laver, who played Schroeder Hall’s Brombaugh Opus 9 organ for several years during its sojourn in Rochester, New York, returns to join the Sonoma Bach Choir in a recital centering upon Martin Luther’s chorales. The concert proceeds around the circle of the year, beginning with Advent and ending with Pentecost; each occasion is marked by a chorale, first heard in bare unison, then in an organ setting, and finally in a hymn-arrangement sung by the choir with organ. As the year turns, a pattern of dark-to-light is revealed, with each stage defined by Luther’s inimitable melodies. Composers include Johann Walter, J.H. Schein, Dieterich Buxtehude & (of course!) J.S. Bach.

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Sonoma Bach – Guest Recital<br>The Bright Field

Sonoma Bach – Guest Recital
The Bright Field


Saturday, February 16 at 3pm
BachGrounder pre-concert talk at 2:25pm

The a cappella ensemble Clerestory takes its name from the high windows through which light pours into a church. We are delighted to present this wonderful Bay Area group in a concert featuring early and modern works inspired, through a process known as ekphrasis, by works of art. Clerestory’s “distinctive voices blending in a gorgeous sound” (San Francisco Classical Voice) perform compositions—by such composers as John Sheppard, Arvo Pärt and Eric Whitacre—which respond through poetry and music to artworks by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Gerhard Richter and many others. These ancient and modern ‘commentaries’ shine a special light upon art both familiar and brand-new.

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Sonoma Bach – Sacred Realms<br>Agnus Dei

Sonoma Bach – Sacred Realms
Agnus Dei

Green Mountain Consort

Saturday, March 30 at 8pm
BachGrounder pre-concert talk at 7:25pm

Sunday, March 31 at 3pm
BachGrounder pre-concert talk at 2:25pm

We return to St. Seraphim for our fifth annual concert in its inspiring space and acoustics. Our repertoire is built around the Missa Paschalis of Ludwig Senfl. Set for five voices, the piece invokes a special world of its own—particularly in the atmospheric Gloria, consisting of many small ‘tone paintings’ which bring to life the successive sections of the text. A Credo by Senfl’s teacher and colleague Heinrich Isaac and motets from the monumental collection Choralis Constantinus complete the music for Easter Mass, while Senfl’s joyful (and rarely performed) Quinque salutationes Domini nostri Jesu Christi punctuates the program with its many exuberant terms of endearment.

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Sonoma Bach – Spring Returns<br>An Affirming Flame

Sonoma Bach – Spring Returns
An Affirming Flame

David Parsons, organ
Circa 1600

Saturday, April 27 at 8pm
BachGrounder pre-concert talk at 7:25pm

Sunday, April 28 at 3pm
BachGrounder pre-concert talk at 2:25pm

Our concert design begins with two collections of miniatures—Leonhard Lechner’s Deutsche Sprüche von Leben und Tod (1606) and Hugo Distler’s Totentanz (c.1935)—separated by centuries, but complementary in their efforts to describe how the world works, and how to have hope. Each consists of tiny, koan-like pieces on a single thought or intuition. We weave these pieces together with larger motets from J.H. Schein’s magnificent Fontana d’Israel (1623) and organ meditations from Yale’s Neumeister manuscript by J.S. Bach and his cousin Johann Michael Bach. Over and again we are offered lessons of how to find light in the midst of gloom, and how to shine such light out to the world.

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Sonoma Bach – Major Works<br>A Human Requiem

Sonoma Bach – Major Works
A Human Requiem

Danielle Sampson, soprano
Paul Murray, bass
Sonoma Bach Choir
Live Oak Baroque Orchestra

Saturday, June 1 at 8pm
BachGrounder pre-concert talk at 7:25pm

Sunday, June 2 at 3pm
BachGrounder pre-concert talk, 2:25PM

We present Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem in Joachim Linckelmann’s wonderful new version for reduced orchestra, allowing us to perform the piece at a scale appropriate to our beloved Schroeder Hall, an ideal venue in which to experience the direct emotional and spiritual appeal of this amazing work. Rather than setting to music the traditional Mass for the Dead, Brahms made his own selection of biblical texts, with special emphasis upon comfort and hope for those who survive. In a letter, he said that he would have been glad to call the piece ‘A Human Requiem’—and this seems a comment upon his music’s power to provide light and hope and solace to all of us even in the midst of deepest sorrow.

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