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Bach at the Sem Features First Lutheran Oratorio

Concordia Seminary announces the final Bach at the Sem concert in the 2007-2008 concert series to be held on Sunday, March 16, at 3:00 p.m. in The Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus, on the Concordia Seminary campus. Music will include the first Lutheran Oratorio, Membra Jesu nostri, for soloists, chorus and orchestra; a short solo cantata, “Lord, In Thee Do I Trust”; and two traditional hymns, “Upon the Cross Extended” and “O Sacred Head Now Wounded.”

According to Robert Bergt, director of The American Kantorei, the oratorio, Membra Jesu nostri, is based upon a medieval Latin poem by Arnulf von Loewen (d. 1250). “It is comprised of brief meditations upon the Sacred Limbs and Body of Jesus: His feet, knees, hands, side, bosom, heart and face are the basis for meditation within the test of seven brief cantatas drawn together in this 65-minute oratorio,” commented Bergt.

Twelve soloists who are principals and assisting principals of The American Kantorei will perform in this Oratorio, composed by Dietrich Buxtehude in 1680 in the North German city of Lübeck. The premier performance of Membra Jesu nostri was given in St. Mary Church, famous for its church music.

Principal Tenor Jeral Becker will sing “Lord In Thee Do I Trust.” Dr. Becker also serves as the director of choral activities at St. LouisUniversity.

The congregation will sing “Upon the Cross Extended” and “O Sacred Head Now Wounded”  based upon Arnulf von Loewen’s poem.

The American Kantorei is a choral and orchestral ensemble dedicated to the performance of church music from the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical and Neoclassical periods. The works of J. S. Bach form the core of its repertoire. Additionally, the music of Dietrich Buxtehude receives special emphasis in this anniversary year of his death. Conductor and music director Robert Bergt is known as an international Bach scholar, especially in understanding the centrality of the German chorale to all of Bach’s musical compositions for worship.

Bach at the Sem is made possible through the generous support of patrons and donors. An offering is taken at each concert in support of the creation and encouragement of fine live performance. Special limited seating within sight of the stage is reserved for school-aged music students accompanied by an adult.

For more information concerning Bach at the Sem or to be added to the Bach at the Sem mailing list, contact Concordia Seminary, 801 Seminary Place, St. Louis, MO 63105 or visit the Concordia Seminary Web site at www.csl.edu.