Ottawa Bach Choir opens with Magnificat!

by Elena Goubanova

The JUNO award-winning Ottawa Bach Choir (OBC) is preparing for the first concert of its 22nd season, Magnificat, in early December.
Magnificat features festive baroque settings of the Marian canticle by several composers, including the original setting by Johann Sebastian Bach, composed for his first Christmas in Leipzig in 1723. There will also be works by Jan Dismas Zelenka and Heinrich Biber, both originally from the Czech Republic, and the Italian Isabella Leonarda. Included as well is the virtuosic cantata for solo soprano and trumpet by Bach, Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, BWV 51, featuring dazzling baroque soprano Myriam Leblanc and trumpeter Josh Cohen. The Theatre of Early Music baroque orchestra, along with its founder, countertenor Daniel Taylor, joins these superb artists, along with tenor Owen McCausland and bass Alex Dobson.

This program offers audiences the chance to hear an array of sublime, yet rarely heard, settings of the Magnificat. Its ancient text from the Gospel of Luke is typically sung liturgically at Vespers, especially during the season of Advent which precedes Christmas. Bach’s original Magnificat in Eb, BWV 243a, was performed at the Vespers service at St. Nicholas’s Church in Leipzig on Christmas Day and includes a sequence of four laudes – songs of praise which outline the Christmas nativity story. These interpolations are sung between the movements of the Magnificat and provide an exceptional array of colours that complement the main work.
Join us as we celebrate the 300th anniversary of Bach’s original performance of this exceptional work. The concert takes place on Saturday, December 2 at 8 p.m. at St. Matthew’s Church, 130 Glebe Avenue. Tickets are available at the following levels: reserved $55, adult $45, senior $40, student $20, children 12 and under free. Season subscriptions at a 10-per-cent discount are also still available for a limited time. For more information, visit the Ottawa Bach choir website at, email, or phone 613-270-1015.

The Ottawa Bach Choir, founded in 2002 by Lisette Canton, performs choral music from all historical periods while keeping Bach’s choral oeuvre as the focus of its repertoire, providing an unforgettable experience of choral music at its best. The OBC won the 2020 JUNO Award for its album, Handel: Dixit Dominus; Bach & Schütz: Motets, in the category Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral. It peformed at the prestigious international festival Bachfest Leipzig in June 2022. The OBC has toured extensively in Europe, Canada, the United States and China, and it was the first Canadian choir ever to peform at Bachfest Leipzig in 2014. The choir’s latest recording, Johann Sebastian Bach: Six Motets, on the ATMA Classique label, has been described as “one of the finest on record” (The WholeNote) – it is available on all streaming platforms as well as on the choir’s website.

Come share our passion as we celebrate this festive season in a beautiful setting with magnificent works from the baroque period with some of Canada’s leading musicians in this style – you won’t want to miss it!

Elena Goubanova is the administrative manager of the Ottawa Bach Choir.

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