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Gerald Carpenter: CAMA Bringing ‘Bach Project’ to Lobero Theatre

The next installment of the Community Arts Music Association’s 2012-13 “Masterseries” will consist of a recital by the awesome pianist András Schiff at 8 p.m. Friday in the Lobero Theatre, 33 E Canon Perdido St.

András Schiff
András Schiff

Schiff, whose performance in Santa Barbara is a stop on his Bach Project Tour, will play Johann Sebastian Bach’s Six Suites for Solo Harpsichord, BWV 806-811: “English”. He will play them on the piano, though without using the sustaining pedals — except, perhaps, very sparingly.

Bach composed 19 suites for harpsichord — the other 13 being the “French” Suites (6), BWV 812–817, the Partitas (6), BWV 825-830 and the Overture in the French style, BWV 831.

Scholars have long considered the “English” six the earliest composed, but they have just recently discovered that they were composed even earlier than they had supposed — not in 1718-20, as they thought, but as early as 1715, while Bach was still working in Weimar.

Two theories exist as to the origin of the “English” sobriquet; both are unsubstantiated and neither is particularly imaginative or convincing. The name is convenient, however, so there it is.

As for the maestro’s choice of not using the pedals, he has this to say: “The sustaining pedal was not at [Bach]‘s disposal on any of the keyboard instruments of his time. That means that the pieces that he wrote could be played without the use of the pedal which didn’t exist. Consequently, the very same works can also be played on the modern piano, with eight fingers, two thumbs and no feet.”

For tickets to this concert ($48 to $63), call or drop by the Lobero Theatre box office at 805.963.0761 or 33 E. Canon Perdido St., or click here to order online.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The opinions expressed are his own.

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