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 – Family Concert: Leonard and Rasmus


The Carmel Bach Festival has so many outreach and family oriented events. One of the absolute favorites is the continuing saga of Leonard and Rasmus. The fifth of this continuing series of stories involving the young boy Leonard and his stuffed horse Rasmus came to life Saturday morning at 11:00 am, July 21, at Sunset Center in Carmel in front of a multiage crowd. Understanding that Rasmus is pure magic appeals to the youngsters in the audience as well as the adults. This marvelous creation comes from Suzanne Mudge, Tower Music Director and since 2015, Director of Community Engagement at the Carmel Bach Festival. Other adventures have gone round the world to nine countries, underwater, solving a Carmel mystery celebrating 100 years of the town, and going into space to the moon. Of course, each story line is not only delightfully entertaining, but has accompanying music provided by festival singers and instrumentalists. The “boy” is none other than Paul Goodwin enchanting the audience with his sense of playfulness and shocking orange hair.

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

Carmel Bach Festival 2018 — Heroic Symphony

What a great way to end the first week of Carmel Bach Festival 2018! We were observing a capacity audience and an exciting, varied program to send us on our way. In historical perspective, had this been forty years ago in 1978, when Dr. Sandor Salgo was Music Director, we would not have been hearing excerpts from Leonard Bernstein’s “On the Town, Copland’s “Appalachian Spring ” and Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony. The last music ringing in our ears as we departed Sunset Center would more likely been one of the triumphant Brandenburg Concertos capping a program that might also have included works by Handel and Telemann. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Carmel Bach Festival, Orchestral

Carmel Bach Festival 2018 – “Medieval Hymn” at the Carmel Mission

“Medieval Hymn” filled the acoustically rich Carmel Mission Basilica Wednesday evening July 18. There is a continuing tradition with the Chorale of the Bach Festival, under the direction of Andrew Megill, to present a candle light program. Escorted by the red robed Bach Festival Candle Bearers, the Chorale entered while singing a traditional plainchant Jesu dulcis amor meus. Beginning with the tenor/bass sounding as herald trumpets, this was perfectly timed with tenor/bass alternating verses with soprano/alto to reach their positions backlit by the stand of twenty tall tapers. Works of Dieterich Buxtehude, Tomas Luis De Victoria, Anton Bruckner, Knut Nysted, and, of course, Johann Sebastian Bach, were cleverly woven together. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Carmel Bach Festival, Choral

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