Bach & Fauré

Bach & Fauré
Tenebrae & Aurora Orchestra
St John’s, Smith Square: 
Holy Week Festival. 12 April 2017

For many years now there has been a music festival at St John’s, Smith Square during the run-up to Easter, and similarly at Christmas. The Easter version has been re-branded as the ‘Holy Week Festival’ and is curated by St John’s itself and the choir TenebraeWP_20170415_12_08_45_Pro (2).jpg. It still includes the annual favourite Good Friday afternoon Bach Passion from Polyphony and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, but has also introduced some other new faces to the Eastertide Smith Square festivities. I was away for several of the events, but did manage to catch three contrasting events, starting with a curious concert by Tenebrae themselves, together with the Aurora Orchestra, both of whom seem to have caught the public imagination in recent years, not least by some impressive publicity. Continue reading

“Bach is the father, we are the children”

“Bach is the father, we are the children”
Aurora Orchestra, John Butt
Kings Place, 17 January 2016

JC Bach: Symphony No. 6; CPE Bach: Sinfonia in D; JS Bach Brandenburg Concertos 1 & 3; Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 1, Adagio and Fugue.

It is still a bit of a shock to be reminded that when Mozart commented that ‘Bach is the father, we are the children’ he was not referring to JS Bach, but to his second son CPE Bach. But is was through JS Bach’s youngest son, Johann Christian, that Mozart first became aware of the Bach family when just eight years old. Earning the nickname of the ‘London Bach’ (not the ‘English Bach’ as the programme note suggests), JC Bach had made his name as an opera composer in London. The 1764 meeting in London with the child Mozart led to a life-long friendship. The Aurora Orchestra (playing modern instruments) featured all three Bachs in a programme that launched their five-year long series of concerts featuring all 27 of Mozart’s piano concertos.

The opening JC Bach Symphony in G minor (Op 6/6) was written in his early London years. It opens with a short and bustling Allegro before the horror-movie style opening of the extended and rather mysterious central Andante. The Continue reading