A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Welcome Bach to 2021 as Kentucky Symphony Orchestra offers The Best of Bach Boys in concert

The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra continues its 29th season with both in-person and live streamed performances featuring instrumental works by J.S. Bach and Sons.

It is difficult to imagine western music without the significant and structural contributions of Johann Sebastian Bach’s sacred and secular catalog. J.S. Bach was a prodigious composer and father, rearing 20 children (9 girls, 11 boys) with two wives. In a musical home with instruments in abundance, many of the Bach children followed their Dad into music careers.

The program opens with J.S. Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major which likely debuted in a coffee house performance in Leipzig around 1730. Its Italianate Air has been extracted and performed on solo violin and with full strings beginning in the late 1800s often under the title “Air on the G-string.”

C.P.E. Bach (Carl Philipp Emanuel) was one of J.S.’s most gifted offspring, and his music was said to bridge the Baroque and Classical eras. After pursuing a law degree, C.P.E. became one of the foremost clavier players in Europe and composed symphonies, keyboard and choral music. As court musician to Frederick the Great, C.P.E. wrote flute music that the King would play, including the Concerto in A Minor to be performed by the KSO’s own principal flute Jennifer King.

KIng is a charter member of the KSO flute section from its first concerts in 1992. Taking over the KSO principal chair in 2015, she has appeared with the Richmond Symphony and KSO as soloist in works by Vivaldi, Mozart and Hindemith.

Seattle-based flutist Demarre McGill was originally scheduled to appear, but the ongoing situation with CCOVID and travel unfortunately prevented his coming to Cincinnati. King took on the challenge to quickly learn these two great works for flute and orchestra.

J.C. Bach (Johann Christian) was J.S.’s 18th child and was known as the
“English Bach.” After years spent in Italy, he settled in London in the service of
 Queen Charlotte. His formative influences allowed J.C. to also write symphonies and operas. He was one of Mozart’s early teachers. The overture to his opera Il Tutore e la Pupilla (The Tutor and the Pupil) will open the program’s second half.

W.F. Bach (Wilhelm Friedemann) was J.S.’s oldest son. He began writing sinfonias (symphonies) during his time in Dresden. The Sinfonia in D Major appears to be from his later period in Halle, Germany following his father’s death. The work was used as an instrumental prelude to the “Whitsun Canata” — Dies ist der Tag, but composed as a secular orchestra piece.

Jennifer King

The KSO’s ‘Best of the Bach Boys’ tribute concludes with a book-end work by the famous father — the Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 featuring Jennifer King, KSO Concertmaster Manami White and harpsichordist Michael Unger.

The KSO invites the community out for a live concert of beautiful, contemplative and inspired music by a father and his three sons — 7:30 p.m. Saturday, January 30.

Safety measures used by St. Peter in Chains Cathedral Basilica will be employed, and patrons are asked to don masks and maintain distance.

Tickets for each show this year remain at $35 to experience great musicians, guest artists and innovative programming unique to our region.

For those who must stay home, the KSO is live streaming each concert (via multiple cameras) for your ‘at home access’ for the price of a single ticket.

Tickets are available online, by phone (859) 431-6216, or at the door.

Welcome Bach in 2021.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment