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   Author  Topic: Bach Week Festival April 24 & 26 in Evanston  (Read 202 times)
Nat Silverman


Bach Week Festival April 24 & 26 in Evanston
« on: Apr 7th, 2009, 3:18am »
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Bach Week Festival  
P.O. Box 1832
Evanston, IL 60204-1832
(847) 648-0813
For Immediate Release  
Attn: Evanston/North Shore Music &
Entertainment Editors/Classical
Concerts April 24 & 26 Cover Many Facets
Of Composer’s Genius
EVANSTON, Ill., April 3, 2009 — The 36th annual Bach Week Festival in Evanston April 24 and 26 will follow the audience-pleasing format reintroduced last year, with each concert devoted exclusively to the music of Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).
This year’s festival is a two-concert affair, with vastly different programs on each date.  Concerts are at 7:30 p.m. both days in Nichols Concert Hall at the Music Institute of Chicago, 1490 Chicago Ave., in downtown Evanston.
Founded in 1974, the Bach Week Festival is the Midwest’s premiere Baroque music festival. Performers are the Bach Week Festival Orchestra, many of whom are members of the Chicago Symphony and Lyric Opera of Chicago orchestras and prominent chamber ensembles; the Bach Week Festival Chorus; and some of the Chicago area’s finest instrumental and vocal soloists.
“Yes we cantata”
Festival artistic director Richard Webster, who played harpsichord at the first Bach Week Festival in 1974 and has directed every subsequent edition, says a variety of attributes keep audiences coming back each spring: the music of Bach, top-rank musicianship, a casual and festive atmosphere, the relative intimacy of festival venues such as the 500-seat Nichols Concert Hall, the availability of low-cost parking on nearby Evanston streets and in public lots — all free on Sunday — and modest ticket prices, with no single ticket costing more than $35.
(By contrast, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra launched a Bach mini-series this month at 2,500-seat Orchestra Hall, with top tickets priced at $122.  There is no musical overlap between the two series.)
This year’s festival includes fewer concerts than usual because organizers are being extra cautious about finances.
“We want to maintain a solid financial position to help assure that Bach Week continues to be a musical rite of spring for decades to come,” Webster says. “Our attitude is that even in tough times, yes we cantata.”
Concert Schedule
The opening concert at 7:30 p.m. April 24 will showcase renowned Chicago keyboard artist David Schrader, a Bach Week participant since the 1980s, in a solo recital that offers a diverse taste of Bach’s harpsichord music, with an emphasis on lesser-known works.
“David is a genius at putting together tantalizingly varied programs,” Webster says. “He’s informative, funny, and unforgettable on stage. Come with a very open mind.”
Schrader will open the concert with the Prelude and Fugue in A Minor, BWV 894, an example of masterful German counterpoint, followed by a work that’s highly unusual for Bach: the Capriccio sopra la lontananza del suo fratello dilettissimo in B-flat Major, BWV 992 (On the Departure [Absence] of his Most Beloved Brother). While Bach’s keyboard music is typically devoid of non-musical references, this emotional, six-movement piece evokes a specific event in Bach’s life.
The Toccata in C Minor, BWV 911, is built of several sections played without pause and with extremes of speed and dynamics.
The Partita No. 1 in B-flat Major, BWV 825, opens with a serene prelude and moves through five baroque dance movements, culminating in a show-stopping “Gigue” with a kaleidoscopic cascade of shifting harmonies.
The Partite diverse sopra il Corale, "O Gott, du frommer Gott,” BWV 767 (O God, thou faithful God) is a set of variations with textures containing as many as four melodic strands. The Fantasy and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 903 (“Chromatic”), moves from swirls of seemingly free-flight improvisation to a fugue in three voices.
The concert at 7:30 p.m. April 26, underwritten in part by the German Consulate General in Chicago, opens with the Cantata Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen!, BWV 51 (Rejoice unto God in all lands!), a work imbued with spiritual reflection and joyful urgency. Soprano Patrice Michaels, an international concert and recording artist, and Christopher Martin, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s principal trumpet player, handle the dazzling and difficult solo parts. In the lively finale, the soprano and trumpet frequently mirror each other’s parts.
Michael Henoch, assistant principal oboist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, will be soloist in the Concerto in A Major for Oboe d'amore and strings, BWV 1055.  The instrument is a mezzo-soprano oboe in A with a bulb bell. Composers of the late Baroque period were captivated by the then-new instrument’s tone colors, and Bach was especially adept in its use.
“This is not a flashy piece,” says Henoch, a charter member of the Bach Week Festival Orchestra since its 1974 launch. “It has a lot of depth for a concerto. If you love Bach, you’ll like this work.”
Oboe d’amore is Italian for ‘oboe of love,’ and festival director Webster says, “Listeners will be seduced by it.”
The Bach Week Festival Chorus will perform the Motet, BWV 226, Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf (The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness), a double-chorus work for sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses, with musical parts passed back and forth between the two choirs.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra ‘cellist Katinka Kleijn will perform the Suite No. 1 in G Major for violoncello, BWV 1007. This intimate masterpiece is among the supreme works in the repertoire for unaccompanied ‘cello.
The concert – and festival – concludes with the Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major, BWV 1050. One of Bach’s “greatest hits,” the piece ends with a finale described by one program annotator as “one of Bach’s most joyous flights of contrapuntal ingenuity and rhythmic vivacity.” Soloists are Stefan Hersh, violin; Anita Miller Rieder, flute; and David Schrader, harpsichord, with the Bach Week Festival Orchestra conducted by Webster.  
Tickets and Info
Single tickets for each concert are $35 regular adult admission, $30 seniors 65 and older, $25 students (with identification), and $10 children 12 and younger. Subscriptions to the two-concert series are $60 for adults, $50 for seniors, and $40 for students.
Prices are the same for both main-floor and balcony seats. All seating is reserved.
For tickets and ticket information, phone (800) 595-4849 or order online at www.bachweek.org.  For general information about the Bach Week Festival, phone (847) 648-0813 or e-mail info@bachweek.org.
Editors:  Photos of the dramatic new reconstruction of J.S. Bach’s head (recently in the news) and other Bach images are available for editorial use, courtesy of the Bach House museum in Eisenach, Germany, at the request of the Bach Week Festival.  Download images from http://www.artefakt-berlin.de/projekt_bachhaus.html#pressehier. Or, e-mail natsilv@aol.com
# # #
Press information contact
for the Bach Week Festival:
Nat Silverman
Nathan J. Silverman Co. PR
1830 Sherman Ave., Suite 401
Evanston, IL 60201-3774
Tel: (847) 328-4292
Fax: (847) 328-4317
E-mail: natsilv@aol.com
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