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Noontime Cantata

To say so will betray my cultural biases, but the Noontime Cantata Concerts, given by the Washington Bach Consort in the Church of the Epiphany at 13th and G Streets, are the singularly most civilized way to spend ones lunch break in this town. Easily more refreshing than the Gatorade from the street vendor, and more nurishing than a 12-inch roast beef sandwhich from the deli.

Preceding the Bach cantata Was frag ich nach der Welt?, BWV 94 (written for the ninth Sunday after Trinity), was a very fine offering of the Prelude and Fugue in D, BWV 532. The cantata, introduced with a humurous and cute but probably unnecessary little speech by the Washington Bach Consort's J. Reilly Lewis, was performed admirably by the just 21 participants, which included a chorus of eleven. (I suspect an AWOL alto behind that uneven number.)

The soloists provided for all I can ask for on an early Tuesday afternoon (especially the baritone), and only the intonation of the violins and viola left much to be desired. The opening and closing chorale were most impressive and provided for that respite, that oasis of calm amid the hectic world outside. (As much as I adored these performances, I am not a fan of applause in church concerts, which especially in this case, seems to take more from the magic the concert could be than it contributes.)

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