The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: This week brings Baroque music from Just Bach this Wednesday at noon and Sonata a Quattro next Sunday afternoon | November 17, 2019

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By Jacob Stockinger

This week brings authentic Baroque music from two newer groups that employ period instruments and historically informed performance practices: Just Bach and Sonata a Quattro.

The concert for November by Just Bach (below, in a photo by John W. Barker, takes place this Wednesday, Nov. 20, from noon to 12:30 p.m. at Luther Memorial Church, 1021 University Ave, in Madison.

The performance is free and open to the public, with a good will offering collected.

Performers are: Sarah Brailey, soprano; Lindsey Meekhof, mezzo-soprano; Thore Dosdall, tenor; Paul Rowe, baritone; Linda Pereksta, flute; Kangwon Lee Kim and Nathan Giglierano, violins; Marika Fischer Hoyt, viola; James Waldo, cello; and Mark Brampton Smith, organ.

The program opens with the six-minute instrumental Sinfonia from Cantata 209. Just Bach favorite Linda Pereksta will be the featured flute soloist, backed up by the strings-and-organ band. (You can hear the Sinfonia in the YouTube video at the bottom.)

Cantata 151 ‘Süßer Trost, mein Jesus kommt‘ (Sweet comfort, my Jesus comes) closes the program. Each of the first four movements of this cantata features a different vocal soloist — the serene soprano aria also boasts a lovely flute obbligato — concluding with the chorale in which all take part.

Those who attend are invited to “bring your lunch, bring your ears and your voice, bring a friend, but most of all bring yourself to this stirring program of J.S. Bach.”

The next Just Bach program is Wednesday, Dec. 18, at noon.

For more information, go to:

https://justbach.org/

https://www.facebook.com/events/451732972120968/

SONATA A QUATTRO

This week the Madison-based group Sonata à Quattro (below) will give two performances of its program “A Dark and Stormy Night”:

The program is:

  • Motet: “In furore iustissimae irae” (In the fury of most righteous wrath), RV 626 by Antonio Vivaldi
  • Quartet No. 1 in D Major by Johann Joachim Quantz
  • Cello Sonata in C Minor, Book II No. 6 by Jean-Baptiste Barrière
  • Concerto for 4 in D Minor, TWV 43:d2 by Georg Philipp Telemann
  • Cantata 209: “Non sa che sia dolore” (He does not know what sorrow is) by Johann Sebastian Bach

Sonata à Quattro performers are: Christine Hauptly Annin and Nathan Giglierano, violins; Marika Fischer Hoyt, viola; Charlie Rasmussen, cello; Daniel Sullivan, harpsichord; and Kristin Knutson, soprano. Special guest artist is flutist Linda Pereksta (below, in a photo by Katrin Talbot).

Says founder and violist Marika Fischer Hoyt (below): “Join us for a program of dark and stormy pieces, on period-instruments. Sonata à Quattro’s third season opens with a program exploring the darker side of human experience, from Vivaldi’s motet, burning with godly rage, to Bach’s secular Cantata, deploring the departure of a beloved friend.

“Quantz’ bubbly Flute Quartet in D Major provides some needed moments of optimism, before we turn to the poignant, brooding Cello Sonata by Barrière. Even the viola gets a turn, in the Telemann, to unfold a haunting saga of tragic beauty.

“But the composers do not leave us in despair; each one leads the listener through the dark night of the soul, to the morning after.”

The Bach Cantata opens with an instrumental Sinfonia, heard in the YouTube video at the bottom, that features flutist Linda Pereksta, who also plays in the works by Quantz and Telemann.

For more information, go to:

https://sonataaquattro.com

facebook.com/sonataaquattro

 


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3 Comments »

  1. Addendum to above comments:

    Does this mean that I should not attend this performance? Not at all. Music (and other fields) are full of controversies, and this may make this performance just more enjoyable. Even if it might not be Bach as some of the other cantatas are, it is still fine music, well worth listening to; and it is possible that Bach had a hand in it.

    Attend and make up your own mind, or just let the music flow around you and ignore everything.

    Comment by fflambeau — November 18, 2019 @ 11:28 pm

  2. Let’s see:

    1) Bach was a Lutheran, and that meant he was proud of the vernacular, German language which he spoke;
    2) Italian was considered (along with Latin) the language for Papists;
    3) Bach spoke German, not Italian, the language this cantata is cast in;
    4) This cantata mentions the sea: yet, Bach was living in a land-locked area far from the sea;
    5) A leading website on Bach’s cantatas concludes:”It is not known why Bach had recourse to an Italian text which is, among other things, somewhat irregular and disconnected, showing an incomplete mastery of the language.” http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/BWV209-Eng3.htm
    6) The Italian texts this cantata are based on are very obscure and date from G. B. Guarini’s ‘Partita dolorosa’ (madrigal no. 41 from his Rime, published in Venice in 1598) and Pietro Metastasio’s opera Semi­ramide riconosciuta (Act 2, scene 6) and his azione teatrale Galatea, together with other verses prob­ably freely invented. Metastasio was born in 1698 in Rome. SAME SOURCE as above. Bach never travelled outside of Germany.
    7) The only surviving text of this cantata is from a copy in someone else’s hand dating to 1800, 50 years after Bach’s death.
    8) This and cantata 203 (also in Italian; the only two in the repertoire that are not in German) have long been challenged by leading Bach scholars as perhaps not being written by Bach or as being “reshaped” by him or someone else. This is still the subject of debate and has not been proven either way.

    CONCLUSION: Like so many things in the dim past, we will likely never know if Bach wrote this cantata, or even reshaped it, or whether someone else did and it has been attributed to him (something that has happened before) and is a complete fake. I find it humorous that a group devoted to “historic” performances would perform something that is itself of questionable background.

    Comment by fflambeau — November 18, 2019 @ 2:01 am

  3. Query: Why is Bach’s Cantata 209 in Italian? He was German and spoke German, not Italian, to my knowledge. All of his other contatas are in the German language, except for #203.

    An authority on this subject, J. Mincham, notes that “their (he is also speaking of Cantata 203, the only other Bach cantata in Italian) authenticity has been challenged” (although he himself seems satisfied that this is Bach’s music). See Mincham, The Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach (2010) Chapters 100, 101.

    Note also that the only surviving text for this cantata stems from a 1800 (well after Bach’s death in 1750) copy.

    “The principal source of BWV 209 is a copy made by Johann Nikolaus Forkel in 1800. The authenticity of the work has been much discussed.” See, http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV209-D3.htm (very long discussion of this cantata).

    Comment by fflambeau — November 17, 2019 @ 7:21 pm


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