The Washington Bach Consort bills itself as “the nation’s premier baroque chorus and orchestra”—which raises the question: Who does the rankings for this kind of thing? The WBC certainly has carved a niche for itself in its singular devotion to tracing the musical lineage of the Bach family on traditional period instruments. The elder Bach, Johann Sebastian, is today recognized as one of history’s greatest composers, but in his day he was known mostly as a pretty good church organist. This weekend marks what would have been his 324th birthday under the Julian calendar. To celebrate, J. Reilly Lewis, the WBC’s music director, performs Bach’s Great Organ Mass with full choral accompaniment at National Presbyterian Church. The natural acoustics there are so great that it’s hard to think of a place better suited for this music. Though there are probably ratings for that, too.
THE PERFORMANCE BEGINS SUNDAY AT 3 p.m. AT NATIONAL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 4101 NEBRASKA AVE. NW. $20–$55. (202) 429-2121.