We caught a glimpse of a future generation of musicians during the afternoon of July 27, 2019. Each year, the Carmel Bach Festival invites four promising vocalists to study and perform with the Festival Orchestra, Chorale and Chorus. This year, Michael Beattie took on the task of directing the Masterclass sessions and the Showcase Program. Every Monday and Thursday during the Festival, six seasoned professionals worked with the young stars. The mentors this year have been: David Newman, Andrew Megill, Mhairi Lawson, Meg Bragle, Thomas Cooley, and Dashon Burton. The Virginia Best Adams Fellows for this year are Nola Richardson, soprano; Clara Osowski, mezzo-soprano; Corey Shotwell, tenor; and Will Prapestis, baritone. For the Showcase that Saturday afternoon, we experienced the fruits of their labor.
Three Cantatas were chosen for the musicians to work on and present. After a few explanatory words, Mr. Beattie sat down at the organ and directed Befiehl dem Engel, daß er kommt, BuxWV 10 by Dieterich Buxtehude. It is always a treat to listen to period instruments including the theorbo. The final section set to the word Amen just seemed to dance along. Next, Mr. Beattie explained the choice of the two Cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach. We heard Schau, lieber Gott, wie meine Feind, BWV 153 written for the Sunday after the New Year. This work is darker than the Christmas Oratorio we heard earlier in the Festival. With the room’s light-filled interior, the music didn’t weigh me down. It was serious and weighty music to be sure, but presented beautifully. As a final piece, Es wartet alles auf dich, BWV 187, fit nicely. This cantata is written for a Sunday after Trinity. The instrument group added 2 oboes with their rich tones to the lovely arias. I was struck with how the soloists and instrumentalists seemed to breath together and play with, not in contest to, each other.
The future seems very bright to me. The musicians using their instruments, to include voice, take great care to present a pleasing journey. The music of J.S. Bach will be enjoyed for many generations. Thank you to the Carmel Presbyterian Church for making room in their busy schedule for this vocal program. Thank you to The Carmel Bach Festival for showcasing future musical artistry as a high priority.