Back to Baroque
Action-packed November of Classical Proportions
The Oregon Bach Festival may have ended in July, but Baroque music rules November, and the OBF is partly responsible. Sunday, Nov. 13, the UO’s chamber music series features one of America’s most exciting Baroque music ensembles, Rebel (pronounced Re-BEL, accent on the second syllable). The New York-based, Dutch-born group, named after French composer Jean-Fery Rebel, performs mostly 18th century music in the styles and tunings that the composers intended. Along with the festival’s partnership with period-instrument Portland Baroque Orchestra and recent selection of a period-instrument specialist, Matthew Halls, as new artistic director, this show demonstrates just how much the OBF, once one of the last redoubts of historically inauthentic performance practice, has caught up with the times.
Rebel, which sold out its last performance here two years ago, will perform with two other historically informed specialists, tenor Rufus Müller and oboist Meg Owens, in music from what’s probably Western music’s true “greatest generation,” composers all born within a few years of each other in the 17th century. The program includes selections from George Frideric Handel’s operas and oratorios, J.S. Bach’s magnificent Oboe d’amore Concerto BWV 1055, one of the masterworks of the century, music from Georg Philipp Telemann, sonatas by Antonio Vivaldi and works by earlier English composers. It will be one of the highlights of the season.
Recommended Beall concerts include a Nov. 14 show featuring Vancouver pianist Corey Hamm and several UO faculty members performing the music of UO faculty member David Crumb; American music by the Oregon Symphonic Band on Nov. 17; the fall jazz concert guest starring the fiery Portland tenor saxophonist Renato Caranto on Nov.18; Eugene Contemporary Chamber Ensemble playing new music on Nov. 19; the University Symphony performing music by the great film composer Bernard Herrmann, American composer Walter Piston, and Dvorak on Nov. 20; and a free flute recital on Nov. 22, featuring two American premieres, by the great American composer Frederic Rzewski and Aaron Dan, plus music by recent visitor Eve Beglarian and Vivaldi.
These days, many classical musicians are capable of playing both period and modern instruments. Oregon Mozart Players concertmaster Alice Blankenship, for instance, also plays Baroque violin in Portland Baroque Orchestra and knows the authentic style. On Nov. 19 and 20 at First Christian Church, she leads the Oregon Mozart Players’ annual “Candlelight Baroque” show, always one of the season’s intimate musical highlights. The excellent program includes one of J.S. Bach’s most famous cantatas, one of Handel’s finest concerti (Op. 3 No. 3), a triple violin concerto by Vivaldi and another concerto by Locatelli.
Nov. 21, in Springfield’s Wildish Theater, Chamber Music Amici performs the great trio sonata from J.S. Bach’s masterpiece, The Musical Offering, plus sparkling Baroque sounds by Jean Philippe Rameau, Telemann and Jean-Marie Leclair. The fine players will use Baroque bows.
We also have the opportunity to hear music of our own time and place this weekend when Cherry Blossom Musical Arts presents Portland composer Art Resnick’s trio playing his jazz and other chamber music. Resnick has performed with jazz legends like Freddie Hubbard, Benny Golson and more. The Nov. 12 show at the Jazz Station also includes performances of original music by Oregon composers Dan Senn, Paul Safar and Nancy Wood.
If you missed Siri Vik and Nathalie Fortin’s acclaimed performance of French music last year, another chance to catch the chanteuses’ celebration of chansons occurs Nov. 10-12 at The Shedd. Appropriately presented in a cabaret setting and accompanied by bassist Doug Heydon, violinist Amey Herman, keyboard master Lou Crist and drummer Beau Eastlund, it features poignant music of Jacques Brel, Edith Piaf and other singers who gave mid-century Paris its signature sound.