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Bach At The Sem Features Music By Mendelssohn and Bach

Concordia Seminary announces a Bach at the Sem concert to be held on Sunday, Feb. 22, at 3:00 p.m. in The Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus, on the Concordia Seminary campus. Organist Dennis Bergin will perform major works by J.S. Bach, Felix Mendelssohn and two 20th-century composers, Jan Bender and Hugo Distler; the latter two were friends and organists in North Germany in neighboring cities of Lünneburg and Lübeck. Soon after World War II Jan Bender made an organ concert tour of the U.S., which in turn led to his spending the rest of his professional life performing and teaching at numerous U.S. colleges and at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

Bergin performs Bach’s “Toccata in F Major” on the Seminary’s large Cassavant organ. Bergin features the flexibility of the Cassavant organ’s design in his performance of Mendelssohn’s “Sonata III in A Major.” The organ’s design widens even further as Bergin plays Hugo Distler’s Partita in three movements based upon the melody of “Wake, Awake, for Night Is Flying,” and in Jan Bender’s Variations on a dynamic hymn, “Weary of All Trumpeting.” The audience joins the chorus in the singing of the hymn. The birth years of Mendelssohn and Bender, 1809 and 1909, are memorialized in this performance.

The American Kantorei Chorus performs several short motets by Bach, Bender, Distler and Heinrich Schütz. The motets blend together with the organ works in an emphasis on the central theme, the “Transfiguration of Our Lord,” which is celebrated by some liturgical churches on Sunday, Feb. 22. Robert Bergt conducts the chorus in this performance.

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. 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-age music students accompanied by an adult.

The final performance in the 2008-2009 concert series is Sunday, April 26, at 3:00 p.m., featuring works by Mendelssohn and Bach. An enlarged chamber orchestra and choirs from Saint Louis University will join the ensemble.

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; 314-505-7377; or e-mail bach@csl.edu.