PR — “Bach at New Year’s” 2018-2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 7, 2018

Contact: Paula Hatch, Executive Director | paula@berkshirebach.org

“Bach at New Year’s”

GREAT BARRINGTON, MA – Eugene Drucker returns to lead the Berkshire Bach Ensemble in three performances of a festive program forBach at New Year’s that includes two Brandenburg Concerti and other Baroque masterpieces on Sunday, December 30 at 3PM at the Academy of Music (Northampton); Monday, December 31 at 6PM at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center (Great Barrington); and Tuesday, January 1 at 3PM at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (Troy, NY). Tickets are available through the ticket office at each venue.

The program celebrates friendship and Auld Lang Syne in the music of five Baroque masters who defined the style and created the rich heritage of Western music that we enjoy today—Corelli, Vivaldi, Händel, Telemann, and (of course) J.S.Bach. Spanning the years 1653-1787, these composers connected through direct friendships and reverence for each other’s music, and are as relevant today as they were during their own times. 

Corelliwas born in 1653 and established himself as a violin virtuoso and conductor in Rome in the late 1670’s. He attracted an international following that included Bach and Händel, and is represented in Bach at New Year’s by his well-loved Christmas Concerto that is a lush and serene work played by the full Ensemble.  Vivaldi, 25 years younger, was Corelli’s musical successor, and one who swept the Italian music scene early in his career. He was Bach’s favorite Italian composer, and is represented in our concert by Winter from his best-known work, The Four Seasons, written c.1721.  Eugene Drucker is the violin soloist who navigates the slippery and icy by-ways described in the piece.

Händel, who knew Corelli and revered his music throughout his life, is represented in Bach at New Year’s by the welcoming Arrival of the Queen of Sheba from Solomon that opens the concert, and a 1733 version of the celebrated Water Music that features the brilliant solo trumpet of long-time Berkshire Bach Ensemble member, Allan Dean. Telemann met Händel as he began his university career and may have been encouraged by him to follow his heart to become a professional musician. The friendship lasted throughout their lives as they pursued parallel careers as international music celebrities. Telemann was an innovator in many ways and stylistically forward-looking, as shown by his contribution to our New Year’s concert, the Concerto No. 1 in G Major for Four Violins, written without basso continuo.  Laura Lutzke, Michael Roth, Ronald Gorevic, and Emily Smith perform this Concerto, which is from the same collection of Telemann concertos that was so popular last year.

And then there is Bach.  Though he never met Händel, he was close friends with Telemann, studied the music of Corelli and Vivaldi, and famously paid homage to each, writing a fugue on a Corelli theme and arranging several Vivaldi works as keyboard concertos. This year’s program features two pieces that showcase the variety and splendor of Bach’s concerto writing—the  Harpsichord Concerto No. 5 in f minor with soloist Arthur Haas, and the Concerto for Violin and Oboe, with soloists Eugene Drucker, violin, and Gerard Reuter, oboe—plus two iconic orchestral works that return to Bach at New Year’s after a brief hiatus—Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 2 and 4. Flute soloists Judith Mendenhall and Alison Hale are featured in Brandenburg No. 4, and trumpeter Sycil Mathai plays the virtuosic and thrilling clarino part in Brandenburg No. 2 that concludes the evening.

This joyous celebration promises to start your New Year on a high note.

More information on the program details, the musicians, the venues, ticketing and concert support can be found at www.berkshirebach.org or by calling 413.528.9555.