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Lunch on the Sacred Pineapple

The Washington Bach Consort’s Noontime Cantata Series is a wonderful, 17-year-old tradition at the Church of the Epiphany on 13th and G Street every first Tuesday of the month. The cantata on offer yesterday was Schau, lieber Gott, wie meine Feind (Behold, dear God, how all my foes), BWV 153, preceded by the 15-year-old - Georg Boehm-influenced - Bach’s slight and experimental Prelude and Fugue in C Major, BWV 531. That little thing (safely in under five minutes) was introduced by the WBC’s J. Reilly Lewis and ably played by Todd Fickley.

Conducting the cantata was, in his debut in that role, the organist who had delighted with a brilliant Passacaglia the last time I attended a Noontime Cantata concert, Scott Dettra. The five players would have been better served by a dedicated conductor, though, as Dettra was busy at the continuo organ and didn’t have the time to tend to the increasingly more obvious intonation issues and the strings' eventual refusal to play in unison. Reilly Lewis, enjoying his role as a listener, still gave his traditional introduction to the work and whether one likes these introductions in principle or not, there is no denying he does them very well, filled with charm and easily digestible information. The young alto Tracy Cowart sang well, and she still has a lot of time to improve her German pronunciation. Tenor Robert Petrillo pleased with barely a strain in his voice. Bass Robert Tudor’s contribution was a delight.

The rest of the 17th season for the Noontime Cantata concerts will take place on March 7th (Nimm von uns, Herr, du treuer Gott, BWV 101), April 4th (Tue Rechnung! Donnerwort, BWV 168), and May 2nd (Höchsterwüschtes Freudenfest, BWV 194). >