Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile: IMUC retakes the Bach Santiago cycle betting on live music

A new chapter of the Bach Santiago cycle will begin this Sunday, August 1. The UC Institute of Music will resume the monumental project started in 2018 by the well-remembered professor Víctor Alarcón and that will make Santiago the first Latin American capital where all the cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach are performed.

This second semester there will be eight new Bach Santiago concerts, always at 6:00 p.m. on Sundays, every three weeks and until December 26. All will be broadcast on Musica.uc.cl . Although the first of them will be recorded, as of August 22, the broadcasts will be carried out live and direct, as explained by UC Music professor Felipe Ramos Taky, who assumed the direction of the project after his early death, in a car accident. by Víctor Alarcón.

Respect for sanitary protocols continues to be fundamental for all the activities carried out by the UC Institute of Music. The recording of the concert that will be broadcast this Sunday at 6:00 p.m. on Musica.uc.cl, was held at the Templo Mayor of the Campus Oriente UC.


“Bach Santiago concerts will be live, unless there is phase reversal. They will be held either in the Templo Mayor of the Campus Oriente UC or in some of the temples that have historically welcomed us, such as the Lutheran Church and the Parish of the Annunciation, depending on the capacity of each place. Hopefully we can have an audience when it is feasible, and in any case they will be transmitted in live streaming to reach the public that has followed us online for more than a year ” , says Felipe Ramos Taky.

Respect for sanitary protocols continues to be fundamental for all the activities carried out by the UC Institute of Music. The recording of the concert that will be broadcast this Sunday at 6:00 p.m. on Musica.uc.cl, was held at the Templo Mayor of the Campus Oriente UC.

“The capacity and all regulations were strictly respected. Only after they have been tested, are solo singers and the trumpeter allowed to perform without a mask, but the rest of the cast is always wearing the mask, and keeping the distance between people as well. We have even rotated the traditional layout; We have used the first benches of the assembly, to place the choir there, with distance, and the orchestra is towards the altar. This entails, by the way, technical and acoustic difficulties and is also a challenge for the director, who has to drive practically in 360 ° ” , details Ramos Taky.

In this concert of the Bach Santiago cycle, the soprano Pilar Garrido, the contralto María José Uribarri, the tenor Gonzalo Quinchahual and the bass Franco Oportus perform as soloists, plus a choral ensemble and an instrumental ensemble that includes Luis Durán on trumpet and Gonzalo Beltrán as concertmaster. The Cantata BWV 90 A terrible end is coming, and the Cantata BWV 162 Ah! I see now, that I am going to the wedding, and the Motet BWV 230 is added Praise the Lord all nations.

“Cantata N ° 162 has a very interesting peculiarity, there is a soprano aria that musicologists and Bach scholars have long debated whether it is really missing an instrument, and it has been concluded that it is, of course. that there are some parts that are missing. As a Bach Santiago team, we decided to do our own reconstruction, adding a solo violin that accompanied the soprano at that time ”, highlights Ramos Taky.

New protagonists of Bach Santiago
Until December 26, a new program of the Bach Santiago cycle will premiere every three weeks. The cantatas were programmed BWV I had much affliction, BWV 39 Share your bread with the hungry, BWV 21 Great anguish I had in my heart, BWV 137 Praise the Lord, the mighty king of glory, and BWV 29 We thank you, O God, we thank you.

Among others, the singers Evelyn Ramírez, Andrea Aguilar, Rodrigo del Pozo and Patricio Sabaté and Pablo Oyanedel will participate as soloists. In addition, different professors from the UC Institute of Music will direct some programs.

“The concert on August 22 will be in charge of Professor Rodrigo del Pozo, renowned singer and expert in the Baroque. It will be a historically informed performance, with the tuning and instruments of the time ” , announces Felipe Ramos Taky.

Professors Paula Torres and Alejandro Reyes will also act as directors, and for the first time Bach Santiago will be joined by the Estudio MusicAntigua UC directed by Sergio Candia, with a program that includes Cantata No. 39.

Several of the scheduled cantatas feature a festive Bach organic, that is, with instrumentation rich in bronzes, woods and percussion.

“There will be very interesting cantatas, such as Cantata N ° 21, which lasts almost 45 minutes and has a super rich instrumentation, with trumpets and timpani. Cantata N ° 29 also stands out, which has an obbligato organ, that is, the organ has a virtuous part. In closing we will have one of the most famous cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach, which is No. 137; It is an early, choral and very virtuous cantata, it has a very festive instrumentation that is going to be very attractive to the public ” , says Ramos Taky.

Bach’s cantatas: a musical heritage
As part of his role as Thomaskantor in Leipzig, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) had to write a cantata every week for the Sunday liturgical service and, in parallel, train the young musicians who were premiering them in the Lutheran Church of Santo Tomás, where he played the organ. Indeed, he composed more than 300, but only 209 have been preserved to this day. This corpus contains more than 600 arias, recitatives and duets. The character of each cantata depends on the liturgical commemoration to which it is dedicated, and all are dramatically very rich.

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