There are many things I like about my job as marketing director for Music of the Baroque, and one of my favorite tasks is getting to record Music Director Jane Glover and Principal Guest Conductor Nicholas Kraemer talking about the concerts they programmed. Both are so knowledgeable, so passionate about what they do, that I don’t have to say a word. I just sit in a room, my video camera perched on a makeshift tripod of scores and books, and listen to them talk about the music they love.
The series of videos for our upcoming Bach Cantatas concert on October 18 and 19 is a perfect example of how effortlessly these musicians speak from the heart. Off the top of his head, Nicholas articulates exactly what is unique about the three cantatas we’re performing. Cantata No. 119, “Preise, Jerusalem,” which Bach composed to commemorate a town council election shortly after he came to Leipzig, is a celebratory work by a composer new to his job, eager to impress his employers.
Cantata No. 82, “Ich habe genug,” composed for solo baritone, includes two of my favorite Bach arias, so it didn’t surprise me to hear Nicholas say it inspired him to get to know Bach’s other cantatas. I love the way he talks about listening to “Schlummert ein” over and over when he was a young boy.
If I weren’t already going to be at both concerts, hearing Nicholas talk about Cantata No. 140, “Wachet auf,” would probably make me buy tickets. The way he describes Bach’s setting—“It gets you up! ‘Wachet auf!’ Get up and go!”—is totally infectious.
I can’t wait for these performances. The program is Music of the Baroque at its absolute best, with our amazing chorus, great soloists (including Roderick Williams, who amazed our audience for the Christmas Oratorio last year), orchestra—and most of all, Bach’s glorious music. It’s the perfect way to launch our 45th Anniversary Season. As Nicholas says at the very end of the video about Cantata No. 140, he'd like to do a program like this every time he comes—and that would be just fine with me.
Music of the Baroque opens its season with Kraemer Conducts Bach on Sunday, October 18, at the North Shore Center in Skokie, and Monday, October 19, at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park.