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by Daniel Hathaway

CPE-Bach-Program-1786“The Bach Legacy” is the overriding theme in this summer’s Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute, and artistic director Kenneth Slowik decided to devote the second faculty concert on Friday, June 21 to a partial replication of an historic benefit concert given in Hamburg in April of 1786 by Johann Sebastian Bach’s most celebrated son, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. (Program pictured here.)

That concert, given in support of a medical institute for the poor, began with what seems to have been the first ever performance of the Credo from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Mass in b minor. C.P.E. Bach provided the Credo with a brief, new introduction and slightly adapted it to a new age when instruments like the oboe d’amore had become obsolete and needed to be replaced (in this case by violins). Read the rest of this entry »

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by Daniel Hathaway

Michael Praetorius

Jeannette Sorrell brought the alternately dazzling and charming music of Michael Praetorius to life once again at Trinity Cathedral on Thursday evening, in her compilation program, “Christmas Vespers” — with a little help from Apollo’s Fire’s 20 instrumentalists, 27 adult singers and the 15 young vocalists who make up Apollo’s Musettes. And a near-capacity crowd of happy listeners.

Her sidespeople comprised six string players, including viola da gamba, a wind band of ten (recorders, cornetti, Trumpets, three sackbuts and percussionist) a continuo group of four (count them: three long-necked lutes or theorbos! — in addition to organ and harpsichord (Sorrell herself) and seven soloists who moved in and out of the choir during the complicated choreography that brought the right people to the right place for each variously scored piece.

Mostly drawn from the collection called Polyhymnia caduceatrix, compiled in 1619, two years before the composer’s death at the age of 50, but also using material from his Musica Sionae, Puericinium and the dance collection Terpsichore, the program ranged from the simple (chant and liturgical snippets, stark, early Lutheran chorales sung in unison and M.P.’s greatest hit, Lo, how a rose) to the fascinating polychoral complexity of works in the Venetian ceremonial style (Gloria sei Gott, and In Dulci Jubilo). Read the rest of this entry »

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