Aspen Music Festival And School

Special Event: Brandenburg Recital II

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With special thanks to Joan Fabry and Michael Klein

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J. S. BACH: Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major, BWV 1050
J. S. BACH: Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 in B-flat major, BWV 1051
J. S. BACH: Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F major, BWV 1047
VIVALDI: Concerto for Four Violins in B minor, RV 580, op. 3, no. 10

Also don't miss Brandenburg Recital I on July 10.

Virtuosic, invigorating, and overflowing with rich melodies, rhythms, and counterpoint, Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos are as fresh and exciting as when they were written over 300 years ago.

During a period of job insecurity, Bach composed them as a kind of musical job application for the Margrave of Brandenburg (then a territory in the kingdom of Prussia). Like many job seekers today, Bach never found out what the Margrave did with his “resume.” These brilliant pinnacles of the Baroque were finally published in 1850 in commemoration of the centenary of Bach’s death, and only then began gaining in popularity. Bach had a thing for sixes; in addition to the six Brandenburgs, he composed six cello suites and six keyboard partitas. He even wrote a poem about smoking a pipe that consisted of six stanzas.

This second of two recitals of the complete Brandenburg Concertos opens with the innovative and appealing Fifth Concerto, the closest to a solo concerto of the set. The flashy harpsichord part was designed to show off an instrument Bach had just brought back to Leipzig from Berlin. Solo flute and violin interweave with the keyboard until it takes off with a startling epic cadenza. One critic a few decades ago criticized the performer for inserting a “tasteless, self-indulgent” cadenza into Bach’s balanced proportions. Oops. The “performer” was no less than Bach himself who left us a complete record of his improvisatory prowess. The viola was Bach’s favorite orchestral instrument, and it takes center stage in the darkly hued Sixth Concerto with its irresistibly catchy final movement. The macho and propulsive Second Concerto with its brilliant and demanding solo trumpet part tops off the evening.

Discover or rediscover these supreme masterpieces in the intimate acoustics of Harris Concert Hall!

Robert Spano, Music Director

Alan Fletcher, President and CEO