Ascension Vespers: All Saints Anglican present two masterworks as part of The Winnipeg Baroque Festival

This past Sunday, April 14th, the 3rd annual Winnipeg Baroque Festival kicked off. Founded in 2022 this momentous festival has proven to be a highlight of the month of April and the spring season. It has truly proven to be a glorious way to fanfare in the warm Winnipeg Spring weather.

As part of the festival, this Friday, April 19th at 7:30 at All Saints Anglican Church there will be a concert held called Ascension Vespers. The concert will feature the music of Bach and Buxtehude…and will also showcase the magnificent choir at All Saints Anglican Church.

Dietrich Bartel has been the Music Director at All Saints since 1996. He worked in Germany for a few years in Lutheran Churches and it was there that he studied and fell in love with liturgical music from the German Renaissance and Baroque. When he was hired at All Saints Anglican he brought his love of this music to the choir and the parishioners.

The two works that will be performed at the April 14th concert will be Bach’s Ascension Oratorio, and Buxtehude’s Magnificat.

In regards to the Bach Ascension Oratorio, Bartel explains his choice to program this music as a natural progression coming as a result out of the choir’s presentation of the Bach Easter Oratorio, as he explains, “Last year we did the Easter Oratorio and so we thought it’s again time to the Ascension Oratorio…roughly in the context of a vespers service.”

The Ascension Oratorio features a festively scored orchestra complete with trumpets, winds, timpani and strings, and SATB vocal soloists. The oratorio will performed in full regalia with an orchestra made up of some of Winnipeg’s finest musicians.

A testament to the quality of the choir is that the vocal soloists will come directly from the choir at All Saints. The only exception being that Bartel has brought in one of his former students, Nolan Kehler to sing the role of the Evangelist, a part written for tenor voice. As Bartel says, “Nolan is a good friend and former student, and I love to work with him.”

The other work on the program is a Magnificat credited to the composer Dietrich Buxtehude. This is a glorious work, and hearing it here in Winnipeg is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The music is credited to Buxtehude, but many think that the likelihood of him being the composer of this music is somewhat questionable. As Bartel explains, “I think even saying it’s [the music]  attributed to Buxtehude is probably a bit of a selling point… it’s much easier to sell something with Buxtehude’s name on it than just simply saying it’s anonymous. It is a wonderful piece and it comes out of that Buxtehude late 17th century circle. It’s a very fine piece…it’s just lovely.”

Two spectacular works performed by one of Winnipeg’s finest church choirs with soloists and orchestra. All Saints Anglican’s Ascension Vespers concert is sure to be a banquet for the ears and a great way to spend a Friday evening in early Spring.

All Saints Anglican Church’s Ascension Vespers concert takes place Friday, April 19th at 7:30. Admission is by donation.

For more details on what is going to be an amazing concert, check out All Saint’s Anglican Church’s website or The Winnipeg baroque festival Website.