The Los Angeles Bach Festival (73rd annual!) opens this Sunday at the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, and one of these years I'd like to be able to take the time and just go. If I had my pick of concerts, I'd attend the closer for this year's Festival. Alexander Ruggieri will be conducting the Los Angeles Bach Festival Choir & Orchestra in Bach's "Mass in B-Minor."
The B-minor was my first real experience with Bach as a teenager when I was privileged to perform it with the (then) Ventura County Master Chorale. Quite a way to kick off my career as an amateur choir boy.
The B-minor is possessed of the kinds of stirring polyphonics that Bach reserved for his epic works, and it firmly cemented my desire to pursue classical vocal music as a hobby. (Actually, this is a lie. I had intended to make it a vocation, but let the schooling required for such a task intimidate me. Never got there. So it remains my number one hobby.)
Not coincidentally, one of my favorite works is being conducted by one of my favorite conductors. Alexander Ruggieri is an incredible music director - one I would gladly sing for again given the opportunity. I can only imagine what he'll be able to accomplish with the power of the Festival at his disposal. Alexander is currently the Minister of Music for First Congo, so he also serves as host for the event.
It was under Alexander that I (finally!) reached my vocal prime. Such as it is. It was his ability to teach without condescending that allowed me to learn just enough technique to be able to fake my way through some better-than-average choirs and not make a fool out of myself.
Anyway, if you're anywhere near Los Angeles on the 29th and have $19 to spare ($30, if you want prime seating), I'd attend this one. I would, if time and budget permitted.
The B-minor is not to be missed if it can be helped.