Unfortunately, the Boston Bach Birthday 335 has had to be canceled as a result of the coronavirus. We are sorry to miss out on what promised to be a wonderful day of music.

But mark your calendars: the BBB will return on Saturday, March 20, 2021!

Click here to download the 2020 Boston Bach Birthday flyer!

First Lutheran’s twelfth annual celebration of the birthday of the greatest of all Lutheran composers, Johann Sebastian Bach, will be on Saturday, March 21. Beginning at 8am and featuring concerts, organ recitals, and of course the famous German lunch (tickets $15, available at the door), the day will end with a service of Solemn Vespers at 5pm. As always, all musical events are free and open to the public, and all may come and go as able.

Traditionally the Boston Bach Birthday has showcased First Lutheran’s brilliant Baroque pipe organ, perfect for the music of Bach. For this, the 335th year since Bach’s birth, the celebration will feature organists Jonathan Wessler (8am), Christiaan Teeuwsen (10:20am), and Karen Electra Christianson (1:25pm). Additional solo recitals will be presented by Maren Rothfritz on viola (9:20am) and FLC’s own Jo Ellen Lindeman and Justin Lee on harpsichord (11:15am). Two chamber ensembles will play as well: a woodwind quintet (2:25pm) and Musicians of the Old Post Road (3:25pm). The prelude to Vespers will feature FLC’s own violinist Kate Arndt (4:40pm) playing one of Bach’s unaccompanied sonatas.

The annual children’s event (10:20am) will feature organist Christiaan Teeuwsen in a program entitled “Bach and His Teachers,” acting as old Sebastian Himself. The Master will regale us with tales of his childhood, teachers, and mentors, and perform some of the music these important figures may have used to teach Bach, as well as some of the music Sebastian might have written under their tutelage. As is tradition, all will be invited to the balcony to come view the organ up close after the presentation and to try pressing a few keys or pedals if they like.

The Bach Birthday will conclude with Vespers for the Fourth Sunday in Lent (5pm), featuring Dieterich Buxtehude’s motet Jesu meine Freude, BuxWV 60 and a festival Magnificat formerly attributed to Buxtehude. FLC’s own Pastor James Hopkins will officiate and preach. The service will incorporate hymnody and music of the sort that would have been sung at such a service led by Bach at his churches in Leipzig.

Complete List of Music

8:00am | JONATHAN WESSLER, organ
Jesus Christus, unser Heiland—Franz Tunder
Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr, BWV 675—JS Bach
Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr, BWV 676—JS Bach
Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr, BWV 677—JS Bach
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland—Nicolaus Bruhns
Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns hält, BWV 1128—JS Bach
Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele—Georg Böhm
Christ, der du bist der helle Tag, BWV 766—JS Bach
Fugue in C, BuxWV 174 (“Gigue”)—Dieterich Buxtehude
Fugue in G, BWV 577 (“Gigue”)—JS Bach

9:20am | MAREN ROTHFRITZ, viola
Suite no. 5 in c, BWV 1011—JS Bach
Suite no. 1 in G, BWV 1007—JS Bach
Suite no. 3 in C, BWV 1009—JS Bach

10:20am | CHRISTIAAN TEEUWSEN, organ
Children’s Event: Bach and His Teachers
Repertoire TBA

11:15am | JO ELLEN LINDEMAN and JUSTIN LEE, harpsichord
English suite no. 3 in g, BWV 808—JS Bach
Toccata in D, BWV 912—JS Bach
Pavan and galliard no. 2 in F “Philip Tregian”—William Byrd
Chromatic fantasia and fugue, BWV 903—JS Bach

12pm | GERMAN LUNCH (tickets $15)

1:25pm | KAREN ELECTRA CHRISTIANSON, organ
Praeludium in e, BuxWV 142—Dieterich Buxtehude
O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde gross, BWV 622—JS Bach
Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV 625—JS Bach
Passacaglia & fugue in c, BWV 582—JS Bach
Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele, BWV 654—JS Bach
Sechs Fugen über den Namen BACH, op. 60, no. 1: Langsam—Robert Schumann
Toccata in F, BWV 540—JS Bach

2:25pm | MUSIC FOR WOODWIND QUINTET
Quintetto in E-flat—Franz Anton Rosetti
Divertimento no. 1 in B-flat, Hob.II:46—Franz Josef Haydn
Guide to the Woodwind Quintet—Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Sheep May Safely Graze, BWV 208/9—Johann Sebastian Bach
Sonata in G, BWV 1039—Johann Sebastian Bach

3:25pm | MUSICIANS OF THE OLD POST ROAD
Sonata in A, BWV 1032—JS Bach
French suite no. 5 in G, BWV 816—JS Bach
Sonata in b, BWV 1030—JS Bach

4:40pm | PRELUDE TO VESPERS—Kate Arndt, violin
Sonata in g, BWV 1001—JS Bach

5pm | VESPERS
Psalm motet: Confitemini Domino—Ascanio Trombetti
Office Hymn: From Depths of Woe I Cry to Thee—harm. Michael Praetorius and JS Bach
Hauptmusik: Jesu, meine Freude, BuxWV 60—Dieterich Buxtehude
Magnificat: Anonymous, attr. Buxtehude
Benedicamus: Benedicamus Domino—Michael Praetorius
Hymn: Jesus, Priceless Treasure—harm. Georg Philipp Telemann and JS Bach
Postlude: Fugue in C, BWV 547/2—JS Bach

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