I decided that, on Good Friday, Die Walküre would come under the heading of "all the vain things that charm me most." So I went to church. The paradoxes and mysteries of this liturgical season have had a great deal of music dedicated to them, and so I also went down to Immanuel Lutheran for a concert featuring J.S. Bach and Buxtehude. (One of the most valuable things I learned living in Germany was vigilance in looking out for free and cheap concerts of Bach and/or Buxtehude.) In addition to the church's choir, this evening of Good Friday music featured the contributions of early music group ARTEK, whose midday, midweek, midtown concerts I have often enjoyed. And I had a beautiful evening. ARTEK were impressive as ever, and the choir sang with passion and sensitivity to the music.
For me, lover of both German baroque music, and the wonderful old German that goes with it, the selections were a treat. After "Halt, was du hast" by Johann Michael Bach came Buxtehude's "Jesu, meine Freude." My favorite movement of this is without a doubt the bass solo "Trotz dem alten Drachen." Obviously this is a great deal of fun to say, but it is also an inspiring text in a vigorous setting, here sung by Eric Edlund. ARTEK had a moment to shine with Johann Rosenmüller's "O Jesu süß." Buxtehude's beautiful "O clemens, o mitis" was given with a lovely interiority by Tiffany Rosenquist and members of ARTEK. The J.S. Bach "Jesu, meine Freude" (BWV 227, text here) was given last, wisely. See you on the other side of Easter, Gentle Readers.