The Bach+ Chamber Series explores the musical “dialogue” among Bach and those composers who came both before and after. This season, we focus on the Art of Fugue and the Musical Offering – two encyclopedic works in which Bach uses a rich palette of styles and techniques from across the centuries, wrapped up in the formal structures of fugue and canon. We also look at Bach’s appreciation for Italian contrapuntal techniques and concertante styles, especially in his writing for strings. This set of concerts, performed by musicians of the Annapolis Chamber Orchestra and guest artists, is offered as part of the Thursday Concert Series @ St. Anne’s lineup at 6:15 p.m.
April 19th, 2018, 6:15pm - The Musical Offering
The Musical Offering, BWV 1079, is one of Bach’s later Leipzig works and beautifully shows off his mastery of counterpoint through two complex fugues, 10 canons and a trio sonata. Dedicated to Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, the collection is entirely based on a theme (Thema Regium or "theme of the king") given by the king to Bach as a basis for improvisation during Bach’s visit to Frederick’s Potsdam court on May 7, 1747. While The Musical Offering includes two fugues (one in three and one in six voices) and 10 canons based on this theme, a highlight of the collection is a four-movement sonata that integrates older forms with more modern idioms.
October 5th, 2017 – The Art of Fugue
The Art of Fugue (Die Kunst der Fuge), BWV 1080, is J.S. Bach’s supreme didactic work on counterpoint and fugal devices. The Art of Fugue comprises 14 fugues and four canons for keyboard. Similar to the models of Conrad Paumer, Girolamo Frescobaldi, Heinrich Schutz, Johann Fux and Johann Mattheson, this collection forms an elaborate essay on the techniques of musical composition. But, rather than a dry, pedantic, instructional manual on counterpoint, The Art of Fugue overflows with diversity of styles and rich musical gestures that only Bach could achieve within the strict constraints that he set for himself. This performance is a highly idiomatic interpretation, based on subjective decisions about the individual style of each “contrapunctus” and taking into account the colors of a chamber orchestra (featuring distinct consorts of strings and winds), piano and the wonderful colors and diverse elements of St. Anne’s recently refurbished Freiburger organ.
November 2nd, 2017 – “For the Love of All Things Italian” The Vivaldi Project
The Vivaldi Project explores the important Italian influence on the mid-18th century String Trio. Beginning with J.S. Bach’s appreciation for Italian contrapuntal techniques and concertante styles, and his youngest son, J.C. Bach’s love of Italian opera, the Vivaldi Project brings to life the richly varied, yet overlooked Classical string trio as it emerges from the Baroque trio sonata. Works by members of the Bach family are performed alongside those of Vivaldi, C.A. Campioni, Haydn, and others, revealing an abiding love for all things Italian.
March 8th, 2018, 6:15pm - Bach and the Violin (Tatiana Chulochnikova, violin)
In many German cities of the 18th century, Collegia Musica -- musical societies comprised of both amateurs and professionals -- provided a venue for experimentation with the diverse contemporary styles of vocal and instrumental music. During his tenure as director of the Leipzig Collegium Musicum from 1729 through at least 1741, J.S. Bach produced more than 500 two-hour weekly concerts. Repertoire for these concerts included the “newest kind of music,” especially works in an Italian style, and featured compositions for strings and harpsichord. Bach’s works for unaccompanied violin, though not expressly written for those concerts, were almost certainly included on the programs. Bach and the Violin explores some of influences on Bach's string writing (the Rosary Sonatas of Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber), as well as his sonatas for violin and obbligato harpsichord and the famous Chaconne from the Partita in D Minor for unaccompanied violin.