"With Bach, how can you go wrong?!"
— Countertenor Thomas Buckley,
on why you don't want to miss this concert.
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Have you reserved your seats for the ClavierFest? This lively concert of Baroque music takes place this Friday, September 23, at 7:30PM, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 120 Sigourney Street, in Hartford. The concert is sponsored by CONCORA’s Friends of Bach; all proceeds support CONCORA’s performances of Bach.
This year’s edition of the ClavierFest features music of Johann Sebastian Bach, of course, along with selections by two others of the Bach family (Carl Philip Emmanel and Johann Christoph Friederich) and Georg Philip Telemann, performed on harpsichords, organ, lautenwerk, and clavichord.
The program includes the sinfonia (overture) and an aria from JS Bach’s Cantata 169 (Gott soll allein mein Herze haben). The aria, “Stirb in mir,” will be performed by one of CONCORA’s newest voices, countertenor Thomas Buckley.
We asked Thomas to give us an inside view of preparing this aria for Friday’s concert.

What grabs you about the aria that you will sing, “Stirb in mir,” from Bach’s Cantata 169?
Bach sets the aria in the meatiest part of the alto voice as if to show what the alto voice can do, from high to low and everything in between. For a countertenor, this creates somewhat of a challenge, as many of the intervals, trills, and melismas [runs] lie in a transitional area of the voice where one must constantly balance vocal weight with precision. But the aria also offers a chance to show what the rare countertenor voice can do.
Bach is brilliant about text painting, of course, and I find this to be especially true in his solo cantatas, such as Cantata 169, the source of this aria. As the instruments begin the introduction, he paints such a picture of longing and pain, and when the voice enters, it is on such a feeling of weight and weightlessness at the same time, a perfect expression of the longing to leave the earth and join with God.

What should we listen for as the aria unfolds?
Listen for the way Bach uses the alto voice to paint the text of this aria, which seems to me to be the last thoughts of a dying person who longs for release from earthly life. The instrumental interludes might represent the person's inner thoughts, and each time the soloist enters after these interludes, it's with a heightened sense of pain and longing. Listen for the tension and release that Bach creates with long notes stretched against changing harmonies and with duets in the instrumental parts. Read the text before you listen; allow yourself to be filled with the sense of longing that Bach has expressed so beautifully. The last line of the aria is especially moving, as the voice trills and descends, over a highly-chromatic accompaniment, into the lowest part of the voice, where it finally dies away.
I have had such a great time learning this aria and rehearsing with Ed and the others, and of course, with Bach, how can you go wrong?!
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Countertenor Thomas Buckley
At home on and off the stage, Thomas C. Buckley is a versatile performer in both classical and musical theatre repertoire. With a countertenor voice described as "dark in color and rich in tone,” he has performed throughout the United States and Europe, where he has been praised for his sensitive musical interpretations. Thomas has been featured as Sesto (Giulio Cesare), Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro) and is active as a soloist with orchestras and choral groups. Thomas has sung under Joe Miller, Michael Tilson Thomas, Sir Helmut Rilling, Sir Roger Norrington, and Alan Gilbert. His musical theatre credits include Lumière (Beauty and the Beast), Pinocchio (Shrek: The Musical) and he can be heard on the original cast recording of the children's musical, Cinderella Skeleton. Thomas has recorded Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and can be heard on a newly-released recording of Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb. He can also be seen on the Choral Conducting DVD with Sir Simon Carrington. His musical direction has taken him to local schools, community groups and professional theatres as well as a rehearsal pianist for Broadway shows. In 2016 he was musical director for the world premiere version of Heathers: The Musical (high school edition) through agreement with Sam French and Stagedoor Manor. Known for his interpretation of both repertoires and as a teaching artist, he works with young artists in Hartford and in New Haven. He currently serves as the Artistic Director for the Plainville Choral Society and is Director of Music at Westminster Presbyterian Church in West Hartford, CT. Buckley is a graduate of Westminster Choir College. For more information visit
Don’t miss this special performance!

CONCORA’s Friends of Bach present ClavierFest
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2016 7:30 PM
Trinity Episcopal Church, 120 Sigourney Street, Hartford

Tickets $25 General $20 Senior $10 Student
860-293-0567 or via or at

Tickets are also available at the door

Featuring keyboardists Christa Rakich – Stephen Gamboa – Edward Clark
with guest artists
Andrea LeBlanc, traverso flute
Emily Hale, baroque violin
Alice Robbins, viola da gamba
Thomas Buckley, countertenor
Curious about clavichords? Have a hankering for a harpsichord? Longing to learn about a lautenwerk? Yes? Then the "Keyboards of Bach" is just for you, and for any young person who wants to learn more. This is a close-up, hands-on demonstration of beautiful keyboard instruments of Bach’s time. Listen to them in concert at the ClavierFest on Friday, September 23, then come back to the same location to try them out for yourself.
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 24, 2016 10am to noon
Trinity Episcopal Church
120 Sigourney Street, Hartford, CT
Open to all (kids, too!)
Free – Registration required
Space is limited – call soon to reserve your place!
860-293-0567 or

Co-sponsored by the Hartford Chapter of the Connecticut Music Teachers Association and the Hartford Music Teachers Alliance
Copyright © 2016 CONCORA, All rights reserved.

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