Thursday, March 4, 2010

Baroque Masters

This afternoon we begin rehearsal for Sundays chamber concert. The concert features music of Baroque era masters such as Handel, Bach, Vivaldi, and Purcell.

We will also be playing the famous Pachelbel Canon in D. Pachelbel was kind of a one hit wonder. The Canon is by far his piece that is performed most often and is especially popular at weddings. When I taught Suzuki violin we often had the students play the Canon for public performances at festivals, shopping malls, etc. I always enjoyed watching the audience as they played because couples would hear the music and start to smile with happy memories. It is a piece that has earned the ire of cellists everywhere because their part consists of eight notes repeated and repeated and repeated until the piece is over. If Dante had envisioned a circle of Hell reserved just for cellists, I expect the punishment would have somehow involved the Pachelbel Canon. That doesn't mean the rest of us can't enjoy it, though!

The featured instrumental soloist for this concert is KSO's new principal bassoon player, Ellen Connors. She will be performing the Vivaldi Bassoon Concerto in A minor. In my nine seasons with the orchestra this is the first time we have had a soloist playing the bassoon. It is a rare opportunity to hear this beautiful instrument featured with the orchestra.

Also on this concert is Bach's Coffee Cantata. When a piece has a nickname, there is usually a story behind it. Sometimes the composers are responsible for the alternate name, but often friends or colleagues coin the nickname. Before I read the program notes on this piece I thought there was a good possibility that the string section that first performed the piece had given it the moniker of "coffee cantata." We don't play for several movements, enough time to go get some coffee. Actually, it is a cantata about coffee. Apparently Bach loved the stuff. The piece shows a humorous side of Bach that is rarely seen.

The Baroque Masters Chamber Concert will take place at 2:30 this Sunday at the Bijou Theater.

1 comment:

Robyn Allegra said...

Awww, I have a rehearsal Sunday afternoon! I'd love to hear Ellen play the Vivaldi.

I'm happy to finally see someone say something positive about Canon in D--thank you for mentioning that other instruments can actually have a good time playing it! In case any of your readers haven't seen it, I wanted to share comedian (and former cellist) Rob Paravonian's Pachelbel Rant. I show it to my music appreciation students every semester so they can see the distance a simple chord progression can go.

I'd never heard of the Coffee Cantata. Learned something new today! :-)