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Gerald Carpenter: Camerata Pacifica Rededicates Itself to Bach for May Concerts

Adrian Spence brings his beloved Bach to the stage of Hahn Hall.
Adrian Spence brings his beloved Bach to the stage of Hahn Hall. (Contributed photo)

Camerata Pacifica — néé Bach Camerata — holds its May concerts at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 15 and at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 16 in Hahn Hall of the Music Academy of the West.

The subject of the concerts is a complete performance of Johann Sebastian Bach's Six Concertos Dedicated to the Margrave of Brandenburg (1721), BWV1046-1051 — the famous Brandenburg Concertos.

In one sense, the Brandenburgs are the most Lutheran of all Bach's works, since they represent an idealized manifestation of Luther's great principle of the "priesthood of all believers." Each of the instruments gets to make a personal statement; each gets to be the lead singer, but none dominates throughout.

So, it seems entirely appropriate to list the names, in the order determined by the Camerata, of all the Cameratans taking part: Evan Sanchez and Brent Hages on oboes; Matthew Cohen on viola; Melanie Lançon on flute; Paolo Bordignon on harpsichord; Catherine Leonard, Priya Mitchell and Agnes Gottschewski on violins; Steve Becknell on horn; Raman Ramakrishnan and Andrew Janss on cellos; Jonathan Moerschel on viola; Martin Owen on horn; John Steinmetz, principal bassoon; Timothy Eckert on bass; Adrian Spence, artistic director and principal flute; Nicholas Daniel, principal oboe; Ani Aznavoorian, principal cello; and Richard Yongjae O’Neill, principal viola.

The Brandenburgs, for all their formal perfection, are not solemn or profound. To the contrary, they are lighthearted and tuneful.

All six concertos are in major keys, and even the slow movements are romantic interludes rather than grim processions. All-Bach concerts are rare in which a good time was had by all, but this is certainly one of them.

Admission to these concerts is $45. For tickets and other information, call Camerata Pacifica at 805.884.8410 or email [email protected].

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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