The 17th annual Bach and Beyond Festival made its return to the village of Fredonia Friday night. Concert goers were treated to classical music from the Baroque period during the opening concert of the three-day event.
The concert featured pieces from Francesco Geminiani, Johann Sebastian Bach, Pietro Locatelli and Georg Frideric Handel. Prior to the concert, artistic director and conductor Grant Cooper hosted Bach and Before, a pre-concert discussion.
"An incredible story that began with singing through the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th and throughout the 20th centuries ... it's what the festival is about," Cooper said.
OBSERVER Photo by Justin Goetz
Pictured are some of the performers Friday night during the annual Bach and Beyond music festival.
In this 30-minute discussion, Cooper, along with soloist Janet Brown, led a discussion about the pieces which were performed in Friday night's concert. Brown is returning to the festival after a three-year absence. She discussed how the Baroque style music can be difficult to perform.
"When I'm doing a lot of Baroque, I do a lot exercises that are long. (The music contains) long phrases and very rapid ones," she said.
Brown even revealed that she has changed one of the pieces slightly that she will be performing on Sunday due to Bach's pieces having many long winded phrases.
"Bach never expects you to breath," she said jokingly.
Brown has shorten phrases when they were still written to be held out musically and started phrases earlier in order to be able to give herself the chance to breathe. She described the changes as "very small." Brown joked she would have to hide an oxygen tank in her dress in order to sing the pieces as written.
Before Friday night's performance, Cooper also said that violinists will also alter the music performed slightly. Instead of one long stroke that is required they will take several strokes to even out the bow strokes.
"There's all sorts of things that we do internally but that's why you come to these (pre-concert) talks to learn all the tricks," he said.
Cooper also gave a brief history lesson the pieces and the Baroque period. The festival continues today with a concert at 8 p.m. featuring various Italian composers including Antonio Vivaldi, Georg Philipp Telemann, Handel, Johan Halvorsen and Bach. A pre-concert talk will begin at 7 p.m. Julie Leven, violinist, will speak at the discussion along with Cooper about helping the homeless in the Boston area with music.
A final concert is scheduled for Sunday at 4 p.m. with a pre-concert talk starting at 3 p.m. Sunday's concert will feature a selection of Bach's pieces. Cheryl Bishkoff, oboe soloist, will speak at the Sunday's discussion.
Both discussions will be held on the second floor of the Opera House. Tickets are still available for both performances. Tickets can be purchased today from 2 to 5 p.m. from the box office or may be purchased at the door. Tickets are $20.
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