Pre-concert discussion with Alexander Weimann and soloists at 1:30 pm.
Seattle Baroque Orchestra features some of the Northwest’s most esteemed Baroque soloists in two of J. S. Bach’s most well-known works. These concerti grossi are masterful examples of balance between groups of soloists and baroque orchestra and highlight the work of Carla Moore, Concertmaster and violin; Vicki Boeckman, recorder; Curtis Foster, oboe; and Kris Kwapis, trumpet. The program also includes a triple concerto by Telemann, a double concerto by Brescianello, and a concerto grosso by Hassmann.
Concerto D-major for Violin, Trumpet, Violoncello and Strings, TWV 53:D5
Vivace, Adagio, Allegro
Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
Concerto à 8 G-minor for Recorder, Oboe, Violin and Strings
Allegro, Adagio, Da Capo Allegro, Menuet-Trio
Ernst August Hassmann (?-1733)
Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 G-major BWV 1049 for Violin, 2 recorders
Allegro, Andante, Presto
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Concerto G-minor for Violin, Oboe and Strings
Allegro, Grave, Allegro
Giuseppe Antonio Brescianello (1690-1758)
Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 F-major BWV 1047 for Trumpet, Oboe,
Recorder, Violin and Strings
Allegro, Andante, Allegro assai
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Listening to Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 is among my strongest memories as a young boy. We had a rather small collection of vinyl records at home, and I remember the ceremony of setting them up on the turn table and waiting for the sound it made when the needle touched the disc. While I was deeply fascinated by all six concertos (they were one of the important gateways to music for me), it was the second concerto, and in particular its first movement, which I just had to hear again and again, every time overwhelmed and hungry for more at once. I must have sensed a profound truth and beauty, too big to understand, but too clear and strong to move on untouched.
Much later, I learned that this movement was chosen to be on the “Golden Record”, a disc attached to the Voyager space probes, and intended to be heritage and messenger of the highest achievements in humanity. So, I was not alone in my awe.
Over the years, I learned to understand more layers and dimensions of the beauty of Bach's music, such as the marvelous fabric of the four solo instruments in this opening movement, each of them so free and uninhibited, but at the same time miraculously depending on each other and connected by a deeper tissue in form of the most intricate counterpoint. But even knowing a bit more, the initial feel of sheer and spontaneous joy never lost its strength. The Brandenburg concertos really are the epitome of orchestral writing in the Baroque. Bach collected and revised some earlier works in 1721, wrote a fair copy, and dedicated it to the Margrave of Brandenburg, hence the name. The compositions come actually from his Weimar and Köthen periods.
Bach's dedication starts as follows:
As I had the good fortune a few years ago to be heard by Your Royal Highness, at Your Highness's commands, and as I noticed then that Your Highness took some pleasure in the little talents which Heaven has given me for Music, and as in taking Leave of Your Royal Highness, Your Highness deigned to honor me with the command to send Your Highness some pieces of my Composition: I have in accordance with Your Highness's most gracious orders taken the liberty of rendering my most humble duty to Your Royal Highness with the present Concertos, which I have adapted to several instruments; begging Your Highness most humbly not to judge their imperfection with the rigor of that discriminating and sensitive taste, which everyone knows Him to have for musical works, but rather to take into benign Consideration the profound respect and the most humble obedience which I thus attempt to show Him.
The Margrave never performed the pieces, nor did he remunerate Bach, and the score was sold in 1734, after the Margrave's death, for 24 Groschen what would nowadays equal about $30. This particularly beautiful autograph was then rediscovered in 1849 and nearly lost again in World War II.
Recent research has revealed that the second concerto is based on a lost chamber music version for quintet called "Concerto da camera in Fa Maggiore" (Chamber Concerto in F major), in a reconstructed version published as BWV 1047R. The trumpet part is still considered one of the most difficult in the entire repertoire, and was originally written for a clarino specialist, the Köthen court trumpeter Johann Ludwig Schreiber.
The Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 also exists in a version for two recorders and harpsichord (instead of solo violin), BWV 1057, transposed one step down. Bach uses the same practice for the two harpsichord versions of his violin concertos, which are also one step lower than their sibling pieces.
The violin part in this concerto is extremely virtuoso in the first and third movements. However, in the second movement, the violin bows down to its recorder partners and provides the bass when the concertino group plays unaccompanied. It has been debated what instrument Bach had in mind for the "fiauti d'echo" parts, and I even heard of a Swiss recorder maker coming up with a contemporary invention trying to solve the riddle.
Though J.S. Bach is clearly the more popular of the two composers today, Telemann was extremely highly regarded by his contemporaries and was definitely the more successful businessman. Significantly, it was Telemann, and not J.S. Bach, who was first offered the job of Cantor at St. Thomas’ in Leipzig. However, while Bach and Telemann were in competition for some of the same high-profile jobs, and inhabited very closely connected worlds, it is worth noting that this competition did not seem to have had a negative effect on their respect for one another. There is plentiful evidence demonstrating that they were in regular and amicable contact for much of their adult lives. J.S. Bach respected Telemann enough that he went so far as to ask him to be godfather to his own son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach in 1714. And Telemann appears to have made every effort to continue supporting his godson throughout C.P.E Bach’s adult life.
Somewhat surprisingly, the repertoire of original trumpet concertos is actually quite small, in comparison with the number of Baroque concertos for string and woodwind instruments. Bigger attention was only paid by composers after the invention of the valve trumpet in 1813. So, Telemann was an early and high-profile promoter of the genre. His Concerto for Trumpet, Violin, Violoncello and Strings dates from around 1720 and follows the traditional four-movement structure that was inherited from Albinoni, Torelli and Corelli; it is the sequence of the so called church sonata (slow-quick-slow-quick).
The two other compositions come from the repertoire of the most illustrious orchestra of the Baroque period, the Hofkapelle (court chapel) in the city of Dresden. Johann Georg Pisendel, sort of the Paganini of his time, had over the years in service as Kapellmeister collected an incredible amount of the most coveted music of his era. This music library was stored in a humongous cabinet, famous as “Schrank II”, and while the gigantic piece of furniture was destroyed in World War II, the music survived and is now kept in the State Library of Saxony, meanwhile entirely turned into digital data which are accessible worldwide.
Besides his death day, the 8th of January 1733, we don't have biographical data for Ernst August Hassmann. I heard his Concerto à 8 for the first time only a couple of years ago, in a church in Dresden, performed by one of the Baroque ensembles in town, and I was instantly captivated by its remarkable beauty without trying to be pretty. The form is a bit unusual, such as the Da Capo of the first movement after the sublime slow middle part. The only other piece by this composer I know of is also very nice, a concerto for violin and oboe in g-minor, exactly like our mirror piece by:
Giuseppe Antonio Brescianello. His name is mentioned for the first time in a document from 1715 in which the King Maximilian II Emanuel appointed him violinist in his court orchestra in Munich. Soon after, in 1716, after the death of Johann Christoph Pez, he got the job of music director and as a maître des concerts de la chambre at the Württemberg court in Stuttgart. In 1717, he was appointed Hofkapellmeister, and in 1731, became Oberkapellmeister. In 1737, the court had financial problems and Brescianello lost his position. He dedicated himself increasingly to composition, such as the 12 concerti e sinphonie op. 1 and some time later the 18 pieces for gallichone (a type of lute). In 1744, the financial problems at the court diminished and he was reappointed as Oberkapellmeister by the Duke of Württemberg, “because of his special knowledge of music and excellent skills”. His successors were Ignaz Holzbauer and then Niccolò Jommelli.
Carla Moore, Concertmaster
Alexander Weimann, Music Director
Alexander Weimann has been Music Director of Seattle Baroque Orchestra since 2015 and is one of the most sought-after ensemble directors, soloists, and chamber music partners of his generation. After traveling the world with ensembles like Tragicomedia, Cantus Cölln, and the Freiburger Barockorchester, he now focuses on his activities as Artistic Director of the Pacific Baroque Orchestra in Vancouver, BC, and as music director of Les Voix Baroques, Le Nouvel Opéra, and Tempo Rubato.
Alexander Weimann can be heard on approximately 100 CDs. He won worldwide acclaim from both the public and critics for his 2001 release of Handel’s Gloria (ATMA Classique). Volume 1 of his recordings of the complete keyboard works by Alessandro Scarlatti appeared in May 2005, unanimously praised and nominated for an Opus Prize as the best Canadian early music recording. He has released an Opus Award-winning CD of Handel oratorio arias with superstar soprano Karina Gauvin and his new Montreal-based ensemble Tempo Rubato. In 2017 he was nominated for a Juno Award for his recording of J.S. Bach’s Magnificat with Arion Baroque Orchestra.
Alexander Weimann was born in 1965 in Munich, where he studied the organ, church music, musicology (with a summa cum laude thesis on Bach’s secco recitatives), theatre, medieval Latin, and jazz piano, supported by a variety of federal scholarships for the highly talented. To ground himself further in the roots of western music, he became intensely involved over the course of several years with Gregorian chant. Alexander Weimann lives in Vancouver, B.C., with his wife, three children and pets, and tries to spend as much time as possible in his garden and kitchen.
Carla Moore is one of America’s foremost Baroque violinists acclaimed for her stylish and virtuosic playing. A First Prize winner of the Erwin Bodky Competition for Early Music, she is co-concertmaster of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (San Francisco), of which she has been a member for over twenty years. She is also concertmaster of Portland Baroque Orchestra (Oregon) and a founder and co-director of Archetti Baroque String Ensemble, a conductor-less Baroque string band. Archetti’s CD is available on the Centaur label.
Carla has served as concertmaster and performed as soloist with Pacific Baroque Orchestra (Vancouver, British Columbia), Santa Fe Pro Musica (New Mexico), Musica Angelica (Los Angeles), Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado (Denver) and American Bach Soloists (San Francisco). As a chamber musician, she has recorded seven critically acclaimed CDs with the ensemble Music’s Re-creation and three with Voices of Music, including her own interpretation of violin sonatas by J. S. Bach.
Her videos with Voices of Music have been viewed by millions worldwide on Youtube.
Prior to establishing herself as one of the Bay Area’s foremost period violinists, Carla lived in New York City, where she performed and toured with groups including Tafelmusik (Toronto), London Classical Players under Sir Roger Norrington, Handel and Haydn Society with Christopher Hogwood (Boston), and the Smithsonian Chamber Players (Washington D.C.). She has performed at the Carmel and Oregon Bach Festivals, the Boston and Berkeley Early Music Festivals, the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival and the International Handel Festival in Göttingen, Germany.
Residing in Oakland, California, Carla teaches baroque violin and viola at the University of California, Berkeley, and coaches the University Baroque Ensemble. She has taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Northwestern University, the University of Utah, and the Amherst Early Music Festival. Carla received her undergraduate training from the University of Southern California and earned a Master’s of Music with Distinction from Indiana University’s Early Music Institute where she studied with Stanley Ritchie. In her free time, Carla enjoys hiking with her husband, a composer and high school music teacher, and her two grown children.
Curtis Foster, Baroque oboe and recorder, whose playing has been praised for its “brilliantly introverted charm” (Seattle Times), has appeared with many of North America’s most respected early music ensembles, including Les Boréades de Montréal, the Seattle and Pacific Baroque Orchestras, and Victoria Baroque Players. He has also performed with Portland Baroque Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, Arion, and Mercury. In the summer, he can typically be found performing or teaching at various festivals, including the Oregon Bach Festival, Vancouver Bach Festival, Victoria Baroque Instrumental Academy, Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, and the Whidbey Island Music Festival.
An enthusiastic advocate for music of our own time, Curtis regularly commissions and presents new works by contemporary composers for old instruments. An equally dedicated pedagogue, Mr. Foster teaches Baroque oboe as part of the Baroque Orchestra Mentorship Programme at the University of British Columbia, and is regularly invited to present workshops and masterclasses around the US and Canada. He can be heard on recordings from ATMA Classique, Naxos, Cedille Records, and IU Press.
Originally hailing from Wichita, Kansas, Curtis now makes his home in Seattle, Washington. He is a graduate of Wichita State University and Indiana University’s Early Music Institute.
Vicki is an active and passionate performer of all styles of music and plays all sizes of recorders. Her travels and performances have taken her across the United States as well as Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, England, Scotland and Germany.
In the Pacific Northwest, Vicki is a returning soloist with the Seattle Baroque Orchestra and has performed with the Portland Baroque Orchestra, Portland Opera and Philharmonia Northwest Orchestra. She is a regular guest with the Medieval Women’s Choir and the Gallery Concerts Series.
In great demand as a teacher of the recorder and related performance practices, Vicki coaches and teaches at workshops and seminars all over the United States and in British Columbia.
She is the Artistic Director for the Port Townsend Early Music Workshop. Vicki has been on the faculty of the Music Center of the Northwest in Seattle since 2005, and with colleague, Darlene Franz, is the resident recorder teacher for the 3rd grade recorder program at West Woodland Elementary in Seattle.
Vicki taught at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen for 12 years, and at the Ishøj Municipal School of Music for 23 years. She co-founded a regional recorder youth orchestra which continues to flourish and grow in Denmark. Her students from the Royal Academy are all now professional performers and teachers passing on the tradition. She was also co-founder of two Danish-based ensembles: Opus 4, and Wood’N’Flutes and continues to perform with both of these ensembles as often as she can in spite of the geography.
Acclaimed for her ‘sterling tone’ in the New York Times, Kris Kwapis appears regularly as soloist and principal trumpet with period-instrument ensembles across North America, including Portland Baroque Orchestra, Early Music Vancouver, Pacific MusicWorks, Bach Collegium San Diego, Staunton Music Festival, Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, Chicago’s Haymarket Opera Company, Tafelmusik, Bach Society of Minnesota, Callipygian Players, Bourbon Baroque, and Lyra Baroque, making music with directors such as Andrew Parrott, Monica Huggett, Alexander Weimann, Barthold Kuijken, Matthew Halls, Jacques Ogg, and Masaaki Suzuki. Her playing is heard on Kleos, Naxos, ReZound, Lyrichord, Musica Omnia and Dorian labels, including the 2013 GRAMMY nominated recording of Handel’s Israel in Egypt, and broadcast on CBC, WNYC, WQED (Pittsburgh), Portland All-Classical (KQAC), Sunday Baroque and Wisconsin Public Radio.
A student of Armando Ghitalla on modern trumpet, with a BM and MM in trumpet performance from the University of Michigan, Dr. Kwapis holds a DMA in historical performance, and lectures on historical brass performance practice with appearances at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, University of Wyoming, University of Minnesota-Duluth, University of Louisville, Madison Early Music Festival, Pacific Lutheran University, Seattle Recorder Society, and Rutgers University.
Dr. Kwapis enjoys sharing her passion with the next generation of performers as a faculty member at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music Historical Performance Institute (teaching cornetto and baroque trumpet) in addition to teaching at her home in Seattle and online. When not making music, Kris explores the visual art medium of encaustic painting.