Brandenburgs – Week 2

July 27, 2020 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Sunset Center Theater
San Carlos St & 9th Ave
Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923

Concertmaster Peter Hanson with members of the Festival Orchestra

J.S. Bach, Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F Major, BWV 1046
Antonio Vivaldi, Concerto in A Minor for Two Violins, RV 522
J.S. Bach, Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 in Bb Major, BWV 1051
J.S. Bach, Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major, BWV 1050
Antonio Vivaldi, Concerto No. 10 in B Minor for Four Violins, RV 580
J.S. Bach, Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major, BWV 1048

The Festival’s Baroque virtuosi are featured on the Monday main concerts, performing four of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti, along with two Vivaldi classics for multiple solo violins.

“This juxtaposition will create a Baroque concert of unprecedented energy and creativity in the hands of Peter Hanson and the Festival musicians,” said Paul Goodwin.

Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti are his greatest instrumental works and are filled with great variety and unique orchestration. Each concerto requires a different combination of instruments as well as very skilled soloists.  This characteristic is notable in the Concerto No. 5 where Bach gave the harpsichord dazzling music to perform and in the process, perhaps invented the modern keyboard concerto. The 5th Concerto is the perfect vehicle to feature Festival principal keyboardist Andrew Arthur’s artistry.

Vivaldi’s concerti for multiple violins are known for their verve. Combine that with memorable and catchy melodies and you have the perfect balance of beauty and virtuosity. Violinist Edwin Huizinga says that the Concerto for Four Violins, part of Vivaldi’s L’estro armonico series of 12 concerti, “sounds like a gorgeous conversation among best friends.” He also feels that the B-Minor concerto is the, “greatest Baroque composition ever written.”

“In the first Brandenburg, we have much character and celebration,” said concertmaster Peter Hanson. “The Vivaldi then takes us to a masked ball in Venice. Brandenburg 6 is the acknowledgement of death and the end of life. Then we have Brandenburg 5 which could be seen as the choice of Hercules between Virtue and Vice—Hercules, on this theory, is represented by the harpsichord, rapidly rotating ideas throughout the first movement and going into a long aria of consideration before dismissing Vice (the flute) in favor of Virtue (the violin). The hero’s decision is perhaps made difficult for him by the fact that Vice and Virtue so often say the same things! Then we have more Venetian masked ball before finishing with Brandenburg 3.”

Peter Hanson is a period instrument specialist and recording artist. He is in his 10th season as concertmaster of the Carmel Bach Festival Orchestra. He has performed with modern and period instrument including the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and the London Symphony and served as concertmaster for Mstislav Rostropovich and the Philharmonia Orchestra as well as Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Orchestre Revolutionaire et Romantique for more than 25 years appearing on nearly all its recordings and concerts.