Vox Luminis, the internationally acclaimed Belgian early music vocal ensemble, will perform at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church on Thursday, October 24, at 7:30 pm. This concert is underwritten by St. Paul’s Chamber Music Society and presented with free admission to the public.
This concert marks the debut performance of Vox Luminis in Houston as they tour the U.S. Other stops on their tour include Duke, Columbia, and Pomona Universities, and prestigious early music festivals in Boston and San Diego.
Under the direction of artistic director Lionel Meunier, the Oct. 24 concert program is “Bach: The Arnstadt Connection.” It will feature music for vocal ensemble and period instruments by Johann Sebastian Bach, Dietrich Buxtehude, and members of Bach’s family connected with the German town of Arnstadt. Several generations of Bachs contributed to musical life in Arnstadt for than 200 years. The program culminates with the choral cantata Christ lag in Todes banden, one of the first composed by J. S. Bach, and probably written to be performed in Arnstadt on Easter Sunday, 1707.
Vox Luminis was created in 2004 and performs over 60 concerts a year, appearing on stages in Belgium, across Europe, and around the world. Since its inception, the ensemble has been defined by its unique sound, appealing as much through the personality of each timbre as it does through the color and the uniformity of the voices. The size and composition of the group depends on the repertoire, with the core of soloists, mostly from the Royal Conservatory of the Hague, often joined by additional performers. The repertoire is essentially Italian, English and German and spans from the 16th to the 18th century.
Winners of a 2018 Gramophone Critic’s Award and numerous other accolades, Vox Luminis is the latest in a line of acclaimed musical ensembles to have appeared in performance at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, Houston. Previous performers have included some of the finest musicians from the Houston area, as well as those from further afield, including the Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge, U.K., and the Choristers of Washington National Cathedral.
With its excellent acoustics, St. Paul’s traditional neo-Gothic structure is home to a vibrant array of vocal, choral, and instrumental music in worship and concerts. The generous support of St. Paul’s Chamber Music Society enables the church to offer exceptional concerts and recitals for the enjoyment of fellow Houstonians. St. Paul’s is located in the heart of the Museum District at the corner of Main Street and Binz/Bissonnet (5501 Main Street). Free parking is available in the church’s parking lot off Binz Street.
PROGRAM “Bach: The Arnstadt Connection”
Heinrich Bach: Ich danke dir Gott
Johann Michael Bach: Herr, der König freuet sich
Johann Christoph Bach: Die Furcht des Herren
Dietrich Buxtehude: Herzlich Lieb hab ich dich, O Herr
Johann Christoph Bach: Herr, wende dich und sei mir gnädig
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata: Christ lag in Todesbanden BWV 4
“The refinement of Vox Luminis is never anything less than sublime.” — David Vickers, Gramophone magazine
“Fashions in early music performance come and go, but the Belgian ensemble Vox Luminis, directed by Lionel Meunier, has established itself as a new star of the scene. With its transparent, flexible, indeed luminous sound, it is rather different from English ensembles. Having memorably recorded the devotional motets of the Bach family, they now turn to Cantatas (Ricercar) by Heinrich, Johann Christoph and Johann Michael Bach, alongside JS Bach’s own chorale-based Christ lag in Todesbanden, and the result is another deeply musical triumph.” — Nicholas Kenyon, The Guardian 06/30/19