[email protected] — Ich bin Berliner

The city of Berlin provided the cultural venue for the indubitably successful concert from [email protected], Saturday, July 28, at the Center for Performing Arts at Menlo-Atherton. Music by Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, and Mendelssohn elicited a series of dazzling ensembles in seamless harmony, since each of the representative composers had found in Berlin receptive sponsors who fostered their artistic growth or challenged their native ingenuity. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Baroque, Chamber music, Classical Era

Carmel Bach Festival 2018 – Virginia Best Adams Vocal Master Class

David Gordon, Master Class Director

This year’s sessions of the Adams Master Class are being led by Master Class Director David Gordon, Festival Associate Conductor Andrew Megill and Festival Vocalists Mhairi Lawdon, Meg Bragle and David Newman. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the last of the sessions on Thursday, July 26, at Carmel Presbyterian Church in Carmel. The culmination of these sessions will be the Virginia Best Adams Masterclass Showcase Concert at 1:30 pm on Saturday afternoon, July 28, also at Carmel Presbyterian.

All too often master classes involve distinguished performers lording it over young students, who become victims of the master class teacher’s vanity and ego. Nothing could be further from the truth during the Adams master classes. The participants we heard today are young professionals already successful in their careers, and the Adams Master Classes represent advanced coaching from a seasoned professional to younger colleagues. The interaction between David Gordon and the young young singers was always warm, courteous, respectful and gently inspiring.

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Archived in these categories: Baroque, Carmel Bach Festival, Master class, Vocal

Carmel Bach Festival 2018 – Bach and the Harpsichord

Harpsichordist Dongsok Shin

For the past five years fans attending the Carmel Bach Festival might have noticed that the festival seemed not to acknowledge that Johann Sebastian Bach, the festival’s namesake, was the greatest keyboard player and keyboard composer of the 18th century. A glaring omission in recent Festivals was the solo harpsichord recital. Since there was no solo harpsichord recital, representative works including The Well-Tempered Clavier, the Partitas, the Toccatas, the Suites, the Goldberg Variations, the Concerto in the Italian Style, and many other important works were much missed.

Yesterday afternoon the CBF took a significant step to rectify this omission by presenting an intimate harpsichord recital for a small elite audience in the foyer of Sunset Center — this concert will be repeated next week in this same venue. For this concert to have taken place we have to be grateful to Jerry & Christine Baker, whose support helped make this event possible. Chris Baker herself is a serious keyboard player and has a personal collection of two museum-quality, Flemish-style harpsichords, plus her newest keyboard acquisition, a replica of an 18th-century Lautenwerck, a lute harpsichord with gut rather than steel strings. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Baroque, Carmel Bach Festival, Harpsichord

Carmel Bach Festival 2018 — St. Matthew Passion

On Sunday, July 15, the Carmel music community was treated to a stunning performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in Carmel’s Sunset Center. Under the direction of conductor Paul Goodwin, the performance on period instruments drew the listener into an authentic celebration of the Passion of Jesus Christ, according to Matthew 26 and 27. Bach worked closely with Christian Friedrich Henrici (Picander) in framing the biblical text with commentary and contemplative prayer. They also collaborated in an effort to restructure the biblical account. The first part of the performance ended at Christ’s arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the second part continued through the traditional remainder of the Passion, ending with the burial of Jesus. Since aim of the composer was to “incite the listeners to devotion” according to his contract with the Leipzig Town Council, the composition was written so as to be appropriate for a Good Friday mass, during which it was premiered in 1727. Last evening’s performance certainly proved that Bach achieved his goals with this work. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Baroque, Carmel Bach Festival

Opening Night — Carmel Bach Festival’s 81st Season

Bach Festival President Cyril Yansouni Welcoming the Audience

Opening night at the Carmel Bach Festival is always a special event, a festive event, and for CBF 2018 a rather unusual event, since its opening concert featured Carl Orff’s signature work, Carmina Burana. This is one of the best known 20th century compositions, that once heard can never be forgotten. Orff’s vibrant energy, unique treatment of vocal lines, effective use of a wide variety of orchestral instruments and his neo-primitive pulsing rhythms make a powerful impression on casual listeners, even those who do not grasp the significance of the thirteenth-century medieval Latin and German poems of unknown authorship upon which the work is based. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Baroque, Carmel Bach Festival