Apollo's Fire goes around the world and Bach again

Apollo's Fire performs. Photo courtesy Apollo's Fire.

Apollo's Fire will feature J.S. Bach's music in its 25th-anniversary season as an homage to this master of the Baroque style. This winter, Apollo's Fire performances will demonstrate the widespread reach of Bach’s music in two programs, "Virtuoso Bach" and "Sacred Bach."

From the sunny Orchestral Suite No. 1 to the darkly brooding Oboe Concerto in G minor, the principal musicians of Apollo’s Fire shine in "Virtuoso Bach: an Instrumental Extravaganza." The apex of the program will be Bach’s beloved Brandenburg Concertos No. 3 and 4. These concertos come from a set of six pieces that Bach presented to the Margrave of Brandenburg in 1742. Pairing small groups of soloists against the entire ensemble (a style referred to as Concerto Grosso) results in wonderful dialogues between the two parts while maintaining virtuosic freedom for the soloists. 

These concertos are famous for merging unorthodox combinations of instruments as soloists, and Apollo’s Fire gathers musicians from around the world to perform them. The joyous Concerto No. 3 comprises intricate lines that flow around the orchestra, and from this complex texture various performers emerge for a moment in the spotlight. Recorder players Kathie Stewart of Cleveland and Francis Colpron of Montreal perform the sparkling solos of Concerto No. 4. This concerto also includes a virtuosic and intricate violin line, performed by Apollo’s Fire's Montreal-based concertmaster, Olivier Brault.

Bach’s music as a spiritual vehicle for unity and artistic exploration is one that is furthered through the March program, "Sacred Bach." The composer's position as a church musician necessitated that he perform, and therefore create, a cantata every Sunday and on every holy day. Julian Wachner lives a life much like Bach did, performing a different one of Bach’s sacred cantatas each week at Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City. Wachner will join the musicians of Apollo’s Fire for an inspiring spiritual journey. 

Apollo’s Fire will present two local performances of "Virtuoso Bach," on Feb. 17 and 18, and two performances of "Sacred Bach," on March 24 and 25. All performances are at 8 p.m., at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights. For tickets and more information, visit apollosfire.org or call 216-320-0012.

Matt Flynn

Matt Flynn is the marketing manager for Apollo's Fire.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 12:48 PM, 01.31.2017