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Boston Baroque presents Georg Philipp Telemann’s St. Luke Passion of 1744

February 8, 2018 | By Stephanie Janes

Boston Baroque presents Georg Philipp Telemann’s
St. Luke Passion of 1744

the performance marks the first time the ensemble has performed the work since 1980

March 2, 8pm | NEC’s Jordan Hall

Download high resolution photos | Download photos of guest artists


The Grammy-nominated Boston Baroque orchestra and chorus presents Georg Philipp Telemann’s St. Luke Passion of 1744 in NEC’s Jordan Hall (30 Gainsborough St, Boston, MA 02115) on Friday, March 2 at 8:00pm. The performance will be conducted by Music Director Martin Pearlman with vocal soloists tenor Thomas Cooley as the Evangelist, baritone Andrew Garland as Jesus, soprano Teresa Wakim, and tenor Stefan Reed.

Tickets are $25-$90 and may be purchased at bostonbaroque.org or by phone at 617-987-8600. 

Boston Baroque was the first Baroque orchestra founded in North America, and this performance marks the first time the ensemble has performed the St. Luke Passion of 1744 since 1980. The performance caused The Boston Globe to proclaim it "…may have been the most sheerly entertaining event of the year." The New Yorker said of the same performance, “…flexibility, airiness and grace…the only really stylish and idiomatic performance of a Baroque choral work which I have heard this season."

One of the most prolific composers of his day, Georg Philipp Telemann tends to be somewhat underrated in modern times. The composer of approximately 3,000 works, Telemann built his career in Germany, primarily in the cosmopolitan trading city of Hamburg. It was here that Telemann wrote the majority of his catalogue, including the majority of his Passions. Telemann also composed a great number of oratorios, operas, cantatas, orchestral suites, chamber music, concertos, and sonatas. Popular with both sacred and secular audiences alike, Telemann was a contemporary of Bach and Handel; his music served as an important bridge between the Baroque and Classical musical periods.

As part of his church responsibilities in Hamburg, Telemann was tasked with composing a Passion each year. After several decades, he had completed a number of cycles; the St. Luke Passion of 1744 fell in the middle of his fruitful career. Comparisons to Bach’s Passion will inevitably take place, as the two composers lived and worked in the same period. However, Telemann is more "modern" in this Passion’s musical style, due to the Enlightenment outlook and the fact that it was composed two decades after Bach stopped composing Passions. Telemann’s 1744 Passion is sunny, with an emphasis on the human side of the drama.

The unknown poet who provided Telemann with his libretto for this St. Luke Passion drew on the biblical text of St. Luke (22:39 - 23:48), but contributed his own texts for all the arias, as well as for the chorus Ach, klage. In his letters, Telemann asks poets not to make recitatives too long and to intersperse them with arias, so that the listener's attention might not flag. 

In this work, Jesus sings a dramatic rage aria, something almost unimaginable in a Bach passion, and the lightness and worldliness of the first two soprano arias may be shocking to anyone who expects the tone of a Bach passion. Bach passions are by comparison darker and more contemplative, interrupting the narrative more frequently with chorales and choruses. Telemann's chorales are harmonically simpler than Bach's, perhaps a reflection of the fact that the congregation sang along in the chorales of Telemann's works. Telemann himself remarked that he wanted the chorales to be simple enough for the congregation, but added that he did not want them limited to mere "kettledrum harmonies."

It was an occasional practice in the Baroque period to add a movement at the beginning of a long work to serve as an introduction. Since Telemann's passions do not have introductory choruses or orchestral movements, Boston Baroque will perform the first movement of Telemann's Concerto in G for oboe d'amore as an opening sinfonia.

Martin Pearlman, Conductor and Music Director

Martin Pearlman is the founder, music director, and conductor of the orchestra and chorus of Boston Baroque, the first Baroque orchestra founded in North America. The four-time Grammy-nominated ensemble is widely regarded as being “Some of the finest American interpreters of music of this era,” according to Fanfare Magazine. Pearlman leads Boston Baroque in an annual subscription concert series in Greater Boston, tours in the United States and Europe, and has produced more than 25 major recordings. Hailed for his “fresh, buoyant interpretations” and his “vivid realizations teeming with life,” Pearlman has been acclaimed for over forty years in the orchestral, choral and operatic repertoire from Monteverdi to Beethoven.

Thomas Cooley, tenor (Evangelist)

Thomas Cooley is a singer of great versatility, expressiveness, and virtuosity, in demand internationally for a wide range of repertoire in concert, opera, and chamber music. His repertoire on the symphonic stage includes works such as Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and Ninth Symphony, Berlioz’ Requiem, Nuits d’été, and L’enfance du Christ; Haydn’s Seasons; Britten’s War Requiem and Serenade; Stravinsky’s Les Noces; Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang and Elijah; Mozart’s Requiem; Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius; Rihm’s Deus Passus; Mahler’s Lied von der Erde; and Penderecki’s Credo. Recent concert highlights include the world premiere and recording of Christopher Theofanidis’ Creation/Creator with Atlanta Symphony, Kodály’s Psalmus Hungaricus, Bruckner’s Te Deum, and his first foray into Wagner with an excerpt from Parsifal with the St. Louis Symphony. He performs regularly with major orchestras and festivals, and is particularly renowned for his agility and skill in Baroque music. He performs with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Handel and Haydn Society, Music of the Baroque (where he was named Artist-in-Residence for the 2015-16 season), Bethlehem Bach Choir, Akadamie für Alte Musik, the Carmel and Oregon Bach Festivals, Les Violons du Roy, and the Munich Bach Choir. 

Andrew Garland, baritone (Jesus)

Andrew Garland returns to Boston Baroque after performances as Jesus in Bach’s St. John Passion; Papageno in The Magic Flute; and as the baritone soloist in Handel’s Messiah. Recent highlights include his Carnegie Hall solo recital debut, as well as performances with Lyric Opera of San Antonio as Mercutio in Romeo et Juliette, Atlanta Opera as Schaunard in La Bohème, Arizona Opera as Ping in Turandot, and Boston Lyric Opera as Starveling in A Midsummer Nights Dream. He sang the title role in Don Giovanni with Opera New Jersey, Dancairo in Carmen with Boston Lyric Opera, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Knoxville Opera, Hermann in Les contes d'Hoffmann with Boston Lyric Opera, and Dandini in La Cenerentola with Fort Worth Opera. Concert highlights include performances with the Atlanta Symphony, National Philharmonic, Dayton Philharmonic, Tucson Symphony, Delaware Symphony, New York Festival of Song, and with the Washington Chorale at the Kennedy Center. Of important note are his 2009 recordings, On the Other Shore (2009), a disc of folk songs setting by Steven Mark Kohn on the Azica label, and a disc of songs by Lee Hoiby entitled A Pocket of Time on the Naxos Label. His latest recording, Andrew Garland: American Portraits (2013) debuted at # 1 on Amazon.com.

Teresa Wakim, soprano

Praised for her “bejeweled lyric soprano" (The Boston Globe) with a voice of “extraordinary suppleness and beauty” (The New York Times), soprano Teresa Wakim was First Prize Winner of the International Soloist Competition for Early Music in Brunnenthal, Austria. Much sought-after in Europe and North America for her interpretations of concerted repertoire, she has performed under the batons of such conductors as Ton Koopman, Roger Norrington, Harry Christophers, Stephen Stubbs, Martin Haselböck, and Nicholas McGegan. Noted solo engagements include Bach’s Mass in B Minor, St. John Passion, and Magnificat with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra,  Bach’s Wedding Cantata and Mendelssohn’s Hear My Prayer with the Cleveland Orchestra, Bach's Missa Brevis with the San Francisco Symphony, Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 with Boston Baroque, Bach's Magnificat with Wiener Akademie Orchester, Bach's Mass in B Minor with Louisiana Philharmonic, Mozart's Exsultate Jubilate with New World Symphony and the Handel & Haydn Society, and Handel's Messiah with the Charlotte, San Antonio, Alabama, and Houston Symphonies. She performs with many of North America's top early music ensembles, including Mercury Baroque Orchestra, Apollo's Fire, Vancouver Early Music, Dallas Bach Society, Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, and Apollo's Fire. She has recorded multiple operas by Charpentier and Lully with the Boston Early Music Festival, most recently their 2015 GRAMMY-winning recording of La Descente d'Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleurs

Stefan Reed, tenor

Originally from Glasgow, Virginia, Stefan Reed performs regularly as a soloist with ensembles across the nation. He is a graduate of the New England Conservatory and an alumnus of the Tanglewood Fellowship Program and has performed with Blue Heron, Boston Baroque, Conspirare, the Handel and Haydn Society, the Mount Vernon Symphony Orchestra, Seraphic Fire, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, and numerous other choral and chamber ensembles. Mr. Reed has been featured on a number of recording projects, including the Handel and Haydn Society’s Joy to the World An American Christmas, and can also be heard on Conspirare’s Grammy award-winning recording, The Sacred Spirit of Russia

bostonbaroque.org

facebook.com/bostonbaroque

@bostonbaroque

Press Contact: Stephanie Janes, (617) 419-0445, stephanie@stephaniejanespr.com  

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