Choral Concert, 2016

Youthful Masterpieces,Authentic Performances

Choral Concert with Baroque Orchestra


The Princeton Festival Chorus
The Princeton Festival Baroque Orchestra

Gregory Geehern, conductor

Saturday June 30 at 7:00pm

Please join us immediately afterwards for a free “Meet the Artists” reception

Miller Chapel, Princeton Theological Seminary
64 Mercer Street, Princeton

Concert Tickets: $35 | $25 | $10 students

  • General Admission Seating

  • Approximate length: 1.5 hours



Johann Sebastian Bach
Der Herr denket an uns, BWV 196
George Frideric Handel
(1685 – 1759)
Dixit Dominus, HWV 232

» Read more about the Baroque Orchestra Concert, date and time TBA

This concert gives lovers of choral music an uncommon opportunity to hear choral masterpieces by the two finest composers of the late Baroque period. The chorus is accompanied by an orchestra that uses period instruments and performance practices. Listeners will hear the kind of sound Bach and Handel had in mind when they composed the music.

To add to the interest, both works were written in the first flush of genius, around 1707, when the two men were 22 years old. These youthful compositions boast music of considerable beauty and variety.

About the music

Bach’s cantata Der Herr denket an uns (The Lord is mindful of us), BWV 196, may have been written for a

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wedding celebration. It opens with an instrumental Sinfonia that has a stately, processional quality.

Four vocal movements make up the rest of the work, beginning with a lively choral section. The succeeding aria for soprano is a stately assurance of the Lord’s blessing. A duet for tenor and bass asks the Lord to bless “you and your children.” The closing chorus is calmly reassuring in asking for the Lord’s blessing. All text comes from Psalm 115.

Handel’s Dixit Dominus, HWV 232, displays a brilliance of style that was no doubt influenced by the music of Italy, where he was living when it was composed. The nine-movement work, based on text from Psalm 110, opens with an orchestral prelude leading into a lively, spacious-sounding choral section.

The work includes arias for alto and soprano, a duet for sopranos, and choral sections. While the Italian influence is prominent, the Handel of Messiah can already be heard in this early piece.

Parallel lives

In spite of having been born in the same year, just 80 miles apart, Bach and Handel never met. Between them these two composers, so different in life experience and musical style, define the music of the late Baroque era.

Bach’s compositions had little circulation outside central Germany, where he spent his whole life. He was influenced by the music of France and Italy, but adapted those styles to the purposes of his own intricate works, which were written primarily for court and church.

Handel, by contrast, crisscrossed Europe early in his career. He became an international celebrity, achieving widespread fame in Italy and England as well as Germany. He quickly absorbed the methods of Italian opera and concerti, achieving popularity in both fields.

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jessica-franko-06-22-16_baroque_245_editThe Princeton Festival Baroque Orchestra

Juan Carlos Zamudio, concertmaster

The Princeton Festival Baroque Orchestra was formed in 2015. It has proven to be a very popular addition to the Festival. In addition to accompanying this choral concert, it will once again perform on its own in a Baroque Orchestra concert.