CARMEL BACH FESTIVAL AT 80, PART 2
“A BACH FESTIVAL WITHOUT BACH?” I’ve been hearing that question on the lips of many Bach lovers, and others, since CBF Artistic Director Paul Goodwin detailed his 2017 season while simultaneously justifying his decision to suppress the most famous Bach works in favor of other composers.
Indeed, the festival’s hugely expensive marketing blitz this year, Joy!, points to the inclusion of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on the Friday Main program. But let’s look closer at the role of JS Bach at his Carmel festival in 2017.
The flagship ‘Main’ concerts include Bach’s Cantata “Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen” (the so-called Ascension oratorio), his cantata “Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis”—both major works—and the short prelude from his first cello suite in the first of two Thursday ‘pops’ concerts. That totals less than two and half hours out of approximately 28 hours of music over two weeks. The rest of the Main concerts are distributed among Philip Glass, Henry Purcell, GF Handel, John Taverner, G Mahler, WA Mozart (Mass in C Minor), Johann Strauss, Fritz Kreisler, Franz Lehar, S Barber, A Copland, L Bernstein, C Monteverdi (Vespers of 1610), folk music arrangements, Giuseppe Torelli, A Vivaldi, songs by Beethoven, Schubert and Vaughan Williams, “The Golden Age of Broadway”, Beethoven (Ninth Symphony) and Brahms. (Associate conductor Andrew Megill, right, conducts the “Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis” and Monteverdi Vespers concerts. Photo by r.r.jones.)
In the Chamber Concerts series, there are Monday morning Bach organ recitals and Monday afternoon performances of Bach’s cantata “Mein Herze schwimmt in Blut” and Tuesday afternoon Sunset Center lobby recitals of solo violin and cello music. Also, search for and find Bach chamber concertos Thursday afternoons in Monterey and trio sonatas (July 23 only) in Carmel. Most of this remains arcane except for the most dedicated and perspicacious Bach enthusiasts.
In summary, Bach does stake a claim though, for whatever reasons, he has been losing his primary grip on the CBF for decades. What makes that problematic going forward is that the reason he was invoked by Dene Denny and Hazel Watrous 80 years ago has itself faded from view; most of the other names above stand on the shoulders of Bach, the man who above all others built the foundation for Western music as we know it and loaded it with transcendent masterpieces of both heart and mind, and the most profound understanding of harmony and counterpoint over the last 400 years. Goodwin’s most memorable impact at the Carmel Bach Festival remains his dramatic debut, a semi-staged production of Bach’s John Passion. Before Goodwin and Bruno Weil (above) were at the helm, late music director Sandor Salgo (right) demonstrated a love for Bach that continually reincarnated to living spirit the festival’s namesake. In Weil and Goodwin, one has rarely felt the love. (For more CBF information, click HERE)
THIS WEEK ON THE MONTEREY BAY
TWO NEW STAGE PRODUCTIONS: ALICE IN WONDERLAND at Paper Wing in Monterey and BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON on the Western Stage in Salinas. SEASIDE SUNDAY BLUES afternoon series returns to Laguna Grande. CABRILLO STAGE’S The Addams Family, and BIG, THE MUSICAL at Forest Theater in Carmel close this weekend. For more info and links click our CALENDAR
DOG STEALS SHOW
VIENNA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA tries to play Mendelssohn in Ephesus.
MARK MORRIS CELEBRATES LOU HARRISION’S 100TH
BELOVED APTOS COMPOSER’S centenary continues with famed dance company. Deborah Jowitt blogs HERE
PRETTY, BIG AND DANCING
AKIRA ARMSTRONG’S just gotta dance. She’s not alone now.
WHY DOES MUSIC AFFECT US SO INTENSELY?
ADAM OCKELFORD TAKES ON an ancient question afresh. Click HERE
WHO TALKS MORE? MEN THINK WOMEN
WOMEN THINK MEN, and other women. That’s the theory anyway. Click HERE
GRATEFUL DEAD’S TOUCH OF GREY
LIGHTS UP the Empire State Building.
Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca RC Brooks, associate editor (Rebecca Brooks is taking the month off to relocate from Virginia to Alaska. JJ Raasch is filling in.)