Thursday, 09 May 2013 Margaret Batjer (violinist+leader) and Allan Vogel( oboe d’amore) led the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra through another Baroque conversation at Zipper Concert Hall at the Colburn school of Music in downtown Los Angeles. It was the 5 th in a series of concerts this season featuring classic works of WF Bach, JS Bach and JC Bach.
Introducing the orchestra and the Bach family, Margaret Batjer, serving as concertmaster of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra since 1998 explains that the world of a violinists would be unthinkable were it not for Bach and his sons who composed a life time of fantastic works in particular their violin concertos.
The Bach family made a very large contribution to classical music and was a musical dynasty that lasted generations spanning the 16th through the 19th century. Before the rise to prominence the family was made up of simple town fiddlers who made no money from music. Instead they were court musicians who formed orchestras, small or large, organists who worked at humble and more prominent churches and Kapellmeisters who held positions of esteem in various cities. Today we consider JS Bach the most famous member of the Bach family but this was not the case during his lifetime. By all accounts JS Bach was a hard-working composer and music director who gave little thought to his lasting fame. Only 50 years after his death JS Bach finally gained the worldwide popularity he so deserved. The first piece featured in baroque conversations 5, JS BACH Oboe d’amore Concerto in A major (orig. Harpsichord Concerto No. 4), BWV 1055, a very lively and jumpy piece surely holds his spiritual tone. The Harpsichord harmonizes perfectly with the violins and seems to tell stories of afternoons at medieval courts, splendid fests, outdoor hunts and spiritual musical moments in churches. Allan Vogel commands the Oboe with great finesse and doesn’t skip one beat of tenderness in his solo. He brings a ightness to the melody.
The violins, magnificent in strength, carry every melody from beginning to finish, perfectly in harmony. Next on the program: The Sinfonia in D minor, “Adagio and Fugue,” FK 65, by Wilhelm Friedmann Bach who was Bach’s eldest son, was published in 20th century and consists of two movements, an Adagio and a Fuge. In this very haunting but beautiful and yearning piece one detects a more contemporary and improvisational vein, incorporating the contrapuntal ideals of his father’s generation and therefore achieving the best of both worlds. The flutes David Shostac and Janice Titon do an amazing job carrying their tone gracefully through the melody.
JC BACH Sinfonia in D major, Op. 3, No. 1 followed, is a very up beat gay piece. JC is Bach’s 18th child, a fledging composer heavily influenced by the Italian opera of his day. He turns from religious music to composing for opera productions in Naples and London.
If you have never had the chance to hear Baroque music the LACO invites you to explore the genesis of orchestral music through intimate performances. It’s really worth seeing. As the musician claim it is the closest way to experience spirituality through music, leaving you with an incredible sense of peace and joy that is palpable.
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Published on May 21, 2013