Bach’s Birthday Celebration at Parlance Chamber Concerts

by Michael Parloff, Artistic Director, Parlance Chamber Concerts

On Sunday afternoon, March 24 at 3 PM, Parlance Chamber Concerts will celebrate spring and Johann Sebastian Bach’s 334th birthday. Fourteen extraordinary artists, each a virtuoso in his or her own right, will perform six of Bach’s most beloved works, ranging from intimate solos to large-scale concertos.

The performers will include leading members of the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society. The concert will feature five recent winners of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, including pianist Gilles Vonsattel, violinists Paul Huang and Kristin Lee, and members of the Escher String Quartet.

About The Program

Cellist Edward Arron will set the afternoon into joyous motion with the rolling Prelude to the Solo Cello Suite No. 6 in D Major. This will be immediately followed by the exalted Double Violin Concerto in D minor with violinists Paul Huang and Danbi Um as the featured soloists. The piece blends power and intimacy in equal proportions. Its invigorating outer movements frame a deeply tender inner movement, which weaves a magical tapestry of poignancy and resignation.

The first half will conclude with the ever-popular Third Brandenburg Concerto, Bach’s astonishingly rich exploration of the contrapuntal possibilities of writing for many individual players. At times, all eleven musicians join in towering unisons, only to be broken down into solo components and reassembled in kaleidoscopically evolving combinations. The piece is as much fun to watch as it is to hear as the themes ricochet back and forth across the ensemble.

Violinist Kristin Lee will begin the second half of the concert with another instantly recognizable work, the perpetual motion Prelude to the E-major Partita for solo violin. This will be followed by the husband-and-wife team of Gilles and Sarah Crocker Vonsattel, who will collaborate in eloquent musical conversations in Bach’s Sonata in E-major for violin and piano.

The afternoon will culminate with solo pianist Gilles Vonsattel and the entire ensemble performing Bach’s most dramatic Keyboard Concerto, the monumental D minor, BMV 1052. Bach thought so highly of this work that he reused the musical material in his moving Easter Cantata. The D-minor Concerto’s rippling virtuosity will bring the afternoon to a thrilling conclusion.

The performance will take place this Sunday, March 24, from 3:00 PM to approximately 5:00 PM. 

The event will take place at West Side Presbyterian Church, 6 South Monroe Street, Ridgewood. Free parking and childcare for children 3 to 6. Tickets at the door: Adults $40; Seniors (65+): $30; Young Adults (21 – 39): $20; Students (under 21): $10

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