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Ovations, Honors Conclude Rilling Era

  • Jul 21, 2013

With a packed house in Silva Hall for Sunday’s performance of Bach’s B Minor Mass, the Oregon Bach Festival and Eugene community concluded an era of artistic leadership—the final concert of conductor Helmuth Rilling’s forty four-year tenure as founding artistic director of the University of Oregon event. In ceremonies following the concert, nearly two thousand audience members in the Hult Center lobby raised a glass in salute as John Evans, OBF president and executive director, announced a new funding initiative in Rilling’s name, focused on education. “From a longtime professional conductor’s master class, to an annual program for advanced high school choral...

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Heavenly Bach B Minor Mass well worth the wait

  • Jul 18, 2013

By James Bash From Northwest Reverb [Full Review] [Excerpt] [caption id="attachment_12419" align="alignleft" width="240"] Tobias Berndt, Nicholas Phan, Roxana Constantinescu, Julia Sophie Wagner. Photo: Caitlin Estes[/caption] Singing with great intensity, the members of the Berwick Chorus of the OBF expressed the text and music of the Mass with superb dynamics, achieving super-soft pianissimos and robust fortissimos. One of the hallmarks of this choir is its excellent diction and balance between all parts, and in this performance, the singers excelled in both areas to such a degree that the supertitles were practically unnecessary. Fleet passages, such as when the sopranos sang “Et...

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Rilling takes final bow with B Minor Mass

  • Jul 17, 2013

By Marilyn Farwell From The Register-Guard The last night of the Oregon Bach Festival is always special. A large work usually caps the fortnight of intense music making; the musicians are exhausted, nostalgic and yet energized; and the audience is prepared for what is often the highlight of the season. Sunday afternoon’s presentation at the Hult Center of J.S. Bach’s B Minor Mass, with Helmuth Rilling at the helm, had all of these elements and more. As the last concert of Rilling’s 44-year tenure as artistic director of the festival, it was not simply a concert but an inspired event,...

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Hohenstaufen Quartet is fine finale for Rilling

  • Jul 15, 2013

Terry McQuilkin From The Register-Guard July 15, 2013   It was fitting that the final chamber music concert of the 44th Oregon Bach Festival — Helmuth Rilling’s last as artistic director —featured two members of the Rilling family. The Hohenstaufen Quartet (named after the family’s hilltop retreat) includes Helmuth’s daughters, violinist Rahel and violist Sara Rilling, and a pair of brothers, violinist Gabriel and cellist Dávid Adorján. Only two compositions were on the agenda the quartet brought to the University of Oregon’s Beall Concert Hall on Saturday evening, both of them very much part of the standard repertoire, which wasn’t...

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Passion ends in perfect silence

  • Jul 14, 2013

By Eliot Grasso The Register-Guard July 14, 2013 Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Johannes” Passion of 1724 is a musical narrative of the life and death of Jesus Christ. The Oregon Bach Festival brought these events to life on Wednesday evening at the University of Oregon’s Beall Concert Hall. The oboists and alto Roxana Constantinescu engaged in a complicated rhetorical exchange in which Bach requires the oboes and voices to dramatize a musical metaphor for the text, “From the ropes of my sins to unbind me, my salvation is bound.” The dialogue (in recitative) between Pontius Pilate (Tobias Berndt) and Jesus (Tyler...

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Small group Bach pieces should benefit in Beall

  • Jul 12, 2013

Terry McQuilkin From The Register-Guard July 12, 2013 CORVALLIS — Oregon State University’s Austin Auditorium, part of the LaSells Stewart Center, was only about half full Wednesday night when the Portland Baroque Orchestra made its second stop here on a four-city Oregon Bach Festival tour that concludes in Eugene today. Those who were in attendance heard an exquisite program of music by Johann Sebastian Bach played by a crack ensemble of early music specialists. Listeners who have heard the PBO remember that the group offers “historically informed” performances, employing period instruments and endeavoring to use the most reliable scholarship to...

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Violinist Midori displays her power and majesty

  • Jul 9, 2013

By John Farnworth From The Register-Guard July 9, 2013 The packed house at the University of Oregon’s Beall Concert Hall on Sunday that came to see world-renowned violinist Midori is likely to remember her performance for a long time to come. Midori’s presence was one of the highlights of this year’s Oregon Bach Festival. The diminutive figure appeared on stage with what appeared to be a violin too large for her. It is, in fact, the Guarnerius del Gesu “ex-Huberman” of 1734, a magnificent instrument that, in the right hands, can sound like a fine, small cello. She set about...

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Concert bids farewell to Rilling, greets Halls

  • Jul 8, 2013

By John Farnworth From The Register-Guard PUBLISHED: 12:00 A.M., JULY 8 The Hult Center’s Silva Concert Hall on Saturday was the site of a momentous landmark in the history of the Oregon Bach Festival. For the first time in its 44-year chronicle, we watched the “changing of the guard” of the festival’s artistic director. “Rilling and Halls: The Passing of the Baton” was a symbolic transfer of the conducting duties of the festival’s orchestra and choruses from German co-founder Helmuth Rilling (who recently celebrated his 80th birthday) to the 30-something-year-old Englishman, Matthew Halls, one of the skyrocketing younger stars of the...

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Rare foray into opera proves to be rewarding

  • Jul 6, 2013

By Marilyn Farwell From  The Register-Guard July 4, 2013 The Oregon Bach Festival rarely has dipped its toes into operatic waters. We have heard fantastic opera singers during the festival’s 44-year run, but for the most part they sang in lieder recitals, oratorios, Masses, and of course, in J.S. Bach’s Passions. Once in a while, we have been treated to an offbeat opera in concert, such as that odd duck, “The Uncle From Boston” by Felix Mendelssohn. And in several fortunate instances, we heard Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem, an opera in all but name. This year, however, brought a perfect storm...

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Stage seats now on sale for Midori July 7

  • Jul 5, 2013

A limited number of seats on stage are now on sale for violinist Midori's all-Bach recital Sunday, July 7 at 3 pm in Beall Concert Hall. The concert had been sold out since early June. The chairs are arranged on either side of the Beall stage, and are assigned seats, sold on a  first-come first-served basis at $49 each. Tickets are available online or through the Hult Center Bach's Office, open at noon Friday and Saturday, or call 541.682.5000.