Pacific Symphony's Cafe Ludwig Series to Present THE BRILLIANCE OF BACH, 2/23

Related: Pacific Symphony, Cafe Ludwig, The Brilliance of Bach

Beginning with a single flute line and concluding with lush harmonies created by multiple voices, Pacific Symphony's upcoming Café Ludwig chamber music concert, "The Brilliance of Bach," traverses the complex musical landscape created by counterpoint genius, Johannes Sebastian Bach.

Achieving legendary fame as a musician while he was alive, Bach not only refined the Baroque techniques that preceded him, but also expanded the limits of instruments, including writing for the modern flute and creating a new role for the harpsichord. Illustrating Bach's inventiveness, pianist and host Orli Shaham is joined by Symphony principal musicians including: Benjamin Smolen on flute, Raymond Kobler on violin, Paul Manaster on violin, Robert Becker on viola, Timothy Landauer on cello and Steven Edelman on bass.

This concert takes place on Sunday, Feb. 23, at 3 p.m., in the charming Samueli Theater, where coffee, tea and desserts are served. Tickets are $60 and $75. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.

"This program is one of the musical highlights of my year," says Shaham, "and I am eager to listen to it as much as to perform in it!" She continues by saying, "The music of Bach is foundational in every aspect of music. His works train young performers from the beginnings of their studies, both in technique and in musicianship, and his oeuvre has served as inspiration for most composers that followed. Doing a program of all Bach is a dream come true for any musician-the trick is only narrowing that program down to an appropriate length!"

The Sunday afternoon performance opens with Partita for Flute in A Minor, an energetic and courtly piece. Then, selections from Duets No. 1-4 for Violin and Cello offer a somewhat mournful, yet abstractly beautiful sound. The delightful Partita No. 1 for Piano prepares the audience for Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major, one of the highlights of Western music. In the Brandenburg No. 5, the concertino highlights the standard combination of Bach's day: harpsichord, violin and flute.

Shaham explains the complexity of Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 by saying, "Here we have three solo instruments (and even more solo voices if you count the keyboard's) and a small ensemble to boot. Joining Ben Smolen and me as soloists will be Raymond Kobler, who is not only a wonderful musician but also has experience playing this music with some incredible groups. The concerto is devilishly difficult for the solo instruments, especially the harpsichord, whose cadenza is notorious for being one of the most technically demanding moments in the whole repertoire.

"The piece is chamber music at its best, with the voices in each of the instruments constantly 'listening' to the voices in the others, and responding and reacting to them with musical tones."




More On: Sebastian Bach, Robert Becker, Carnegie Hall, America-Israel Cultural Foundation.

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