It is my sincere belief that Clevelanders as a massed group should contact Webster Dictionary and have them revise their book. Instead of words such as incredible, virtuoso, extraordinary, wizard and master they should simply put “Apollo’s Fire”. This was once again evident yesterday afternoon (Sunday, March 17, 2013) when “America’s Baroque Orchestra” took the stage at the Rocky River Presbyterian Church to present “The Intimate Bach, Part II”.
The four performers: Jeannette Sorrell, music director and harpsichord; Olivier Brault, concertmaster and violin, René Schiffer, cello and Kathie Stewart, flute combined their exceptional musical expertise in an intimate performance reminiscent of those one would have found in J.S. Bach’s home back in the day.
Playing selections of both Bach and his good friend G.P. Telemann it was a chance for various members of the ensemble to shine as soloists. In honor of Bach’s habit of writing “reversible” music (that is works that could be played backwards and forwards), the group reversed the order of the program. The first selection in four parts was a Telemann work entitled “Paris Quartet no. 12 in E minor, TWV 43:e4” which set the tone of extraordinary musicianship for the rest of the performance.
This was followed by an amazing Cello solo by René Schiffer who simply dazzled all present through the six movements of Bach’s “Suite No. 2 in D minor for Unaccompanied Cello, BWV 1008. Following this masterful rendition, there was a brief intermission.
After the intermission, Kathie Stewart took the stage with her baroque flute for Bach’s Sonata in E minor for Flute, BWV 1034 that simply took our breath away. It was then time for Olivier Brault to take center stage for Bach’s “Ciaccona from Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor”. This amazingly complex piece seemed to break the rules of physics as one would swear that there were two violinists playing at the same time.
This work of Bach’s proved the absolute genius of the great composer who although well sought after lived in the shadows of Telemann’s fame during his lifetime (Telemann’s listing in the music encyclopedias of the day were much longer than Bach’s). In my humble opinion, I feel that G.P. Telemann was the pop song writer of his day creating works that could be easily played and listened to by the musicians and audiences of his time, whereas Bach wrote for musicians and audiences of the future.
The show closed out with the quartet on stage playing a Telemann piece in three movements titled “Paris Quartet No. 1 on G major, TWV 43:G1”. The conclusion of the concert brought everyone to their feet to cheer and in response and in honor of St. Patrick’s Day the group launched into an Irish jig much to our delight.
Following the concert, members of the audience were invited to the lobby for hot cider or coffee and a chance to talk with the members of Apollo’s Fire. There were also CD’s of their past performances for sale in the lobby which can also be purchased by phone (216-320-0012 x 1) or online www.apollosfire.org.
Apollo’s Fire Next performance will be “Bach’s Coffeehouse”
Thursday, March 21, 7:30 PM
76 Bell Street
Chagrin Falls, Ohio 44011
To order tickets call 1-800-314-2535 or go to http://www.apollosfire.org/concerts/tickettemp.html