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A Page from The Friends of Chamber Music Listening Guide – Bach Collegium Japan

The highly anticipated Bach Collegium Japan performance at the Folly Theater is around the corner! We're excited to provide you with another excerpt from the Friends of Chamber Music's Listening Guide. Make sure to study up and be ready for this stunning performance! Bach Collegium Japan performs at the Folly Theater on Thursday, December 6th at 7:30 PM. Tickets are still available for this performance.

Bach Collegium Japan

7:30 PM on Thursday, December 6, 2018 At the C. Stephen Metzler Hall at the Folly Theater

Beyond Bach: works by Bach, Vivaldi, Conti, Marcello, Telemann, and Handel
About Bach Collegium Japan
Bach Collegium Japan performs world-wide, including Japan, with the goal of presenting ideal interpretations of Baroque music centering on the religious works of J.S. Bach. In 1995 the ensemble embarked on a project aimed at recording Bach’s complete church cantatas in chronological order. This project was eventually completed in February 2013 and has met with lavish praise in Japan and overseas as an internationally outstanding and exceptional achievement of the first order.
About the program:
Masaaki Suzuki, founder and artistic director of Bach Collegium Japan, is exploring new territory in this glittering program of Baroque masterworks. Since completing a massive, 18-year recording project, which included all of Bach’s church cantatas and solo harpsichord works, Suzuki plans to explore the world of sacred Baroque music outside of Bach. Suzuki and Bach Collegium Japan begin a new journey this year with a program that reaches Beyond Bach.
Program and Questions:
Bach, Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B Minor, BWV 1067
  1. Overture
  2. Rondeau
  3. Sarabande
  4. Bourrée I and II
  5. Polonaise and Double
  6. Menuet
  7. Badinerie

An orchestra in Bach’s day was a much smaller operation than it is today. We typically see woodwinds in pairs, but this work features a single flute.

What is the role of the flute in this work? How does it contribute to the sound of the strings and harpsichord (or continuo)?

Vivaldi, Concerto in D Minor for Strings, Two Violins, Cello and Continuo from L’estro armonico, Op. 3, No. 11, RV 565
  1. Allegro; Adagio; Allegro
  2. Largo e spiccato
  3. Allegro

In the Baroque period, the term “concerto” referred to any work that featured one or more solo instruments. A concerto that features a group of solo instruments is called a “concerto grosso.” This is different from the “solo concerto” which features only one solo instrument. Vivaldi’s Concerto in D Minor Op 3. No.11 is written in the concerto grosso style.

What are the solo instruments in this work?

Francesco Conti, Languet anima mea

The cantata Languet anima mea (My soul languishes for love of you)  is scored for soprano, two oboes, strings and basso continuo. It survives in a manuscript version from 1716 as arranged by J.S. Bach.

How does this cantata different from an opera?

Marcello, Oboe Concerto in D Minor
  1. Andante spiccato
  2. Adagio
  3. Presto

This work is a standard Baroque “solo concerto,” featuring oboe as the solo instrument accompanied by string orchestra and continuo. J.S.Bach arranged this concerto for harpsichord (BWV 974). Keyboard transcription of exciting concertos was common practice in the Baroque period. Listen to both versions and compare.

Do you like Bach’s arrangement? Could you identify different orchestral parts in Bach’s arrangement?

Telemann, Quartet No. 1 in D Major from Nouveaux Quatuors (Paris 1738)
  1. Prélude: Vivement
  2. Tendrement
  3. Vite
  4. Gaiment
  5. Modérément
  6. Vite

Just like his contemporaries, Telemann was skillful in synthesizing Italian, French, English and German music styles. Nouveaux Quatuors is a set of six chamber suites composed in the French style. Consider listening to more of Telemann’s music on YouTube that is labeled as Italian, English, and/or German.

Could you distinguish between Telemann’s styles across nationalities?

Handel, Silete venti, HWV 242

This work is one of Handel’s best-known Latin motets. It begins with a typical French overture (contrasting two parts with the first part features slow and dotted rhythms in a stately mood. The second part unfolds in a lively fugal style) followed by pairs of expressive recitatives and arias and culminating in a virtuosic aria: “Alleluia.”

Listen to the French overture and identify the two contrasting parts.

Handel was skillful in text-setting. You can find the texts for all of the vocal works on our concerts in our Program Book.

How is the meaning of the texts conveyed through the music?

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