Throckmorton Theatre Noon Concerts presents
DEREK TAM, Harpsichord
~ Program ~
Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, BWV 903 Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Overture in the French style, BWV 831 Bach
Concerto in the Italian taste, BWV 971 Bach
[no tempo indication]
DEREK TAM, HARPSICHORD
Although Bach was a prolific composer, relatively few of his works were published in his lifetime. Not only were printing costs prohibitively expensive, but it was also far more common for highly regarded works to be copied from manuscript.
Perhaps Bach’s most-copied work was the Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor. Sixteen handwritten sources exist, with significant differences in details between them. While the date of composition is uncertain — it was likely composed between 1717-1723, when Bach served the prince of Anhalt-Cöthen — it made an immediate and indelible effect on all who heard it. Extraordinarily virtuosic, it has never lost its appeal. Valued for its rhetorical brilliance by its contemporaries, its harmonic audacity has served as a lodestone for composers and performers from the Romantic era through modern times.
Throughout his career, Bach was drawn to mastering (and synthesizing) the major musical styles of his day: the “elegant” French style and the “exuberant” Italian style. From secretly copying his brother’s keyboard anthology to transcribing Vivaldi’s concertos for different instruments, Bach kept abreast of the latest musical trends. When Bach became the music director at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig in 1723 and then director of the city’s secular Collegium Musicum in 1729, he gained two prominent platforms to publicly demonstrate his mastery. This emboldened him to direct the publication of four Clavier-Übung (“Keyboard Practice”), the second of which included the “Overture in the French style” and the “Concerto in the Italian taste”. Near unique in their specification for a two-manual harpsichord, the two works creatively explore the sound of both manuals to recreate orchestral sonorities on one instrument. Although both pieces contain a healthy amount of “Germanic” counterpoint, one is never left in doubt about Bach’s mastery of the two national styles. – Derek Tam
WEDNESDAY NOON CONCERTS
The community is invited to our complimentary Winter Season of Wednesday Noon Concerts. As part of our ongoing mission to use the transformative power of the arts to inspire and enrich our community, we have opened our doors for the past two years, every Wednesday at Noon, and presented concerts performed by talented musicians that are free of charge to the public. These free noon performances offer listeners the opportunity to discover the beauty of music in an intimate accessible setting, while providing the community with cultural enrichment and exposure to talented performers.
Concerts are in a one-hour format and most performances take place in the intimate Tivoli where both audience and musicians can sit in vibrant, close proximity. Musicians often stay after the performance to informally speak about the program and their upcoming concerts.