Bach Bowl 2017

I love the Bach Bowl. Timothy Albrecht will always have a place in my heart for creating something for me to look forward to every year on Superb Owl Sunday since I’m a fan of neither football nor hot-wings. He always puts together a pretty good program of Bach’s work and, thanks to Bach being such a prolific composer, each year’s program always has its own character. I thought that this year’s program was particularly good.

The bowl began with the first allegro from the Keyboard Concerto no. 3 in D Major, with William Ransom playing the soloist’s role on piano accompanied by Albrecht on a matching instrument. It was well played but more than that, it was incredibly interesting. I was sitting in the middle of the instruments, so their sounds were very distinct for me. Albrecht, playing a transcription of the orchestra’s part, didn’t use pedals at all whereas Ransom did. This made the difference in inflections stand out pretty dramatically. It was really neat to be able to hear how big, or small, of an impact Ransom’s feet had on the music.

Next up was the Violin Sonata in B Minor performed by Elizabeth Fayette on violin with Albrecht on harpsichord. I have to admit that I really don’t like Fayette’s playing. I’ve heard her a couple of times before and I find that her bowing technique can be rather sloppy and that there are generally enough unpleasant squeaks coming from her instrument to prevent me from being able to enjoy the performance. For this particular piece, her playing was fine for the adagio and adante but the allegros were mostly just tolerable. The next piece wasn’t tolerable, though. Tenor Bradley Howard sung the Benedictus from the Mass in B Minor. I generally like his voice but Fayette’s violin just took too much out of me for me to be able to enjoy the work.

My favorite part of the concert was the penultimate work: the Concerto for Three Keyboards in D Minor. Albrecht played the orchestra’s part on the harpsichord while Ransom, Elena Cholakova, and Don Saliers played the solo roles on piano. The rich sound of all of the keyboards together was just wonderful and the solos being passed around the three soloists was delightful to hear.

The concert concluded with an aria from the cantata “Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt.” This time I was able to enjoy Howard’s voice but what really stood out in this piece for me was Guang Wang’s cello. It was a good end to a delightful concert.

Don’t forget to check out the Atlanta Classical Music Calendar!

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