Concertos and Brandenburg Concertos
Portland Bach Festival
June 17-25, 2017
by Christopher Hyde
I don’t know which of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos are most popular, but my favorites are No. 5, with its virtuoso keyboard passages, played at last year’s Portland Bach Festival by Arthur Haas on the harpsichord, and No 2, with its rousing piccolo trumpet part, to be performed this year on June 18 at St. Mary’s Church in Falmouth by John Thiessen.
Thiessen is noted for his virtuosity on this instrument, and the No. 2, with returning Festival artists, should be as outstanding as No. 5.
Haas will be returning as well, in the Vivaldi Flute Concerto in D Minor, with Emi Ferguson, flute, June 22 at Etz Chaim Synagog, and the Bach Harpsichord Concerto in D Major (BWV 1067) in the Sanctuary at St. Luke’s on June 23. He will appear in a number of other concerts, since harpsichord continuo is virtually a necessity for baroque music, plus participating in a post concert lecture at Etz Chaim.
If the Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major (BWV 1048) is your cup of tea, you can hear that one too at St. Luke’s, plus the Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B Minor (BWV 1067), and the Motet “Jesu meine Freude” (BWV 227) by the Oratorio Chorale and soloists under Emily Isaacson.
The penultimate concert, June 24 at St. Luke’s, promises to be something entirely different, featuring works that influenced Bach and others that were influenced by him, including a trio sonata by CPE Bach, the Vivaldi “Winter” Concerto and a Ligeti viola sonata.
The final work of the Festival will be the Cantata “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen” (BWV 51) with soprano Sherezade Panthaki, whom Festival founder Lewis Kaplan calls “the greatest baroque soprano I have ever heard.” Be sure to hear her and soprano Jolle Greenleaf in the François Couperin “ Troisième Leçon à deux voix“ at the “Before and After” concert.
Cellist Beiliang Zhu will once again be playing an Amati lent to her by Florian Leonhard Fine Violins, who will also be binging other famous baroque instruments for display at the Bach and Beer event on June 19.
For further details of concerts and events, visit www.portlandbachfestival.org.
Christopher Hyde is a writer and musician who lives in Pownal, He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.