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For the second year in a row, the Christopher Street Collegium performed Couperin's Leçons de Ténèbres for a vespers service that first touched many hearts at Holy Week 2023.

Holy Wednesday, or "Spy Wednesday," marks the day when Judas Iscariot decided to betray Jesus. Its evening ushers in the three days of Tenebrae, meaning "darkness". For centuries the church celebrated Tenebrae liturgies for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings of Holy Week, focused on the betrayal, crucifixion, and death of Christ. These were often celebrated the night before, starting on Wednesday evening.

 

Our Baroque Tenebrae Vespers carried on this ancient tradition, featuring 15 readings from the Book of Lamentations, each followed by a sung version of the reading, in Latin, composed by François Couperin. His Leçons de ténèbres pour le mercredi saint were composed for Holy Wednesday, 1714, to be performed at the Abbaye Royale de Longchamp, by two sopranos, organ, and viola da gamba. 

 

In this beautiful liturgy of lament, candles were gradually extinguished as the church recalled its ancient descent into darkness. This opportunity was all the more rare for Couperin's exquisite French Baroque expression of Jeremiah's ancient Lamentations.

 

Wednesday March 27, 2024 at 5:30pm

St. John's Lutheran Church, 81 Christopher Street, New York, NY

Rev. Andrew C. Patty, Pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church

Dr. Janet Sora Chung, Organ, Co-artistic Director

Adam Young, Viola da Gamba

Audrey Fernandez-Fraser, Soprano, Co-artistic Director

Linda Tsatsanis, Soprano

Past Events

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This jubilant and joyful Eastertide Vespers featured cantatas by J. S. Bach, Christoph Graupner alongside stunning selections by Johann Hermann Schein, George Friederic Handel and more!

Thursday May 4, 2023 at 6pm

St. John's Lutheran Church, 81 Christopher Street, New York, NY

Dr. Janet Sora Chung, Organ, Co-artistic Director

Carmen Johnson Pajaro, Violin

Kako Miura, Violin

Maren Rothfritz, Viola

Adam Young, Violoncello

Charlie Caranicas, Trumpet 

 

Audrey Fernandez-Fraser, Soprano, Co-artistic Director

Michelle Repella, Alto

Andrew Yeargin, Tenor

Matthew Cramer, Bass

Baroque Tenebrae Vespers.png

Holy Wednesday, or "Spy Wednesday," marks the day when Judas Iscariot decided to betray Jesus. Its evening ushers in the three days of Tenebrae, meaning "darkness". For centuries the church celebrated Tenebrae liturgies for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings of Holy Week, focused on the betrayal, crucifixion, and death of Christ. These were often celebrated the night before, starting on Wednesday evening.

 

Our Baroque Tenebrae Vespers carried on this ancient tradition, featuring 15 readings from the Book of Lamentations, each followed by a sung version of the reading, in Latin, composed by François Couperin. His Leçons de ténèbres pour le mercredi saint were composed for Holy Wednesday, 1714, to be performed at the Abbaye Royale de Longchamp, by two sopranos, organ, and viola da gamba. 

 

In this beautiful liturgy of lament, candles were gradually extinguished as the church recalled its ancient descent into darkness. This opportunity was all the more rare for Couperin's exquisite French Baroque expression of Jeremiah's ancient Lamentations.

 

  No tickets are required; seating is first-come, first-served.

Wednesday April 5, 2023 at 6pm

St. John's Lutheran Church, 81 Christopher Street, New York, NY

Dr. Janet Sora Chung, Organ, Co-artistic Director

Adam Young, Viola da Gamba

Audrey Fernandez-Fraser, Soprano, Co-artistic Director

Nola Richardson, Soprano

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This Baroque Lenten Vespers featured an interweaving congregational singing, spoken word, and choral-orchestral music reflecting the emotional range of Jesus's 40 days in the wilderness. The harmonious cries of Purcell's Funeral Sentences giving way to robust Lutheran hymns of penitence and submission, including exquisite harmonizations by Heinrich Schütz and J.S. Bach.

Two solo cantatas -- Buxtehude's "Herzlich tut mich verlangen" (BuxWV 42) for soprano, and Bach's "Widerstehe doch der Sünde" (BWV 54) for counter-tenor, reflecting upon the believer's suffering, temptation, and ultimate triumph over sin. 

The program featured two contemporary works by renowned performers of sacred music -- the doleful exilic Psalm 137, "By the waters of Babylon," set stirringly by McNeil Robinson; and a short, celestial setting of "Jesu, meine Seelen Wonne" for voice and strings by the Bach Institute's Rudolph Lutz. The service was opened and concluded by a stunning viola prelude and postlude. 

Dr. Janet Sora Chung, Organ, Co-artistic Director

Carmen Johnson Pajaro, Violin

Amelia Sie, Violin

Kako Miura, Violin

Maren Rothfritz, Viola

Adam Young, Violoncello

 

Audrey Fernandez-Fraser, Soprano, Co-artistic Director

Daniel Moody, Counter-tenor

Andrew Yeargin, Tenor

William Hawley, Bass

This Advent Vespers at St. John's (81 Christopher St.) met with an enthusiastic congregational response. In addition to congregational chorales, the Christopher Street Collegium performed Bach Cantata 61, Buxtehude's BuxWV100 ("Wachet Auf"), BuxWV52 ("In Dulci Jubilo"), and a Schein Magnificat. The evening began with a sublime prelude of solo viola.

Click here to view the program notes.

Dr. Janet Sora Chung, Organ, Co-artistic Director

Carmen Johnson Pajaro, Violin

Amelia Sie, Violin

Maren Rothfritz, Viola

Adam Young, Violoncello

Joe Jones, Bassoon

 

Audrey Fernandez-Fraser, Soprano, Co-artistic Director

Sarah Moga, Mezzo-Soprano

Andrew Yeargin, Tenor

Bryan Murray, Baritone

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