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Elijah features Quasthoff in Portland, Eugene

  • Jul 9, 2010

[caption id="attachment_2694" align="alignright" width="218" caption="Thomas Quasthoff sings the title role in Elijah July 9 and 11."][/caption]The Oregon Bach Festival returns to Portland with Mendelssohn's epic masterwork Elijah Friday, July 9 with soloist Thomas Quasthoff in the lead role. Helmuth Rilling conducts the OBF soloists, chorus and orchestra in the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Elijah is reprised as the Festival's finale in Eugene July 11. The musical setting of the Old Testament tale tells of a prophet embroiled in the dangers of false gods, tyrannical kings, threat of drought, and a mystical journey through the wilderness. The events unfold swiftly in Mendelssohn’s musical...

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Intimate Schumann recital really quite lovely

  • Jul 8, 2010

[caption id="attachment_2784" align="alignright" width="167" caption="James Taylor\'s singing was a delight, wrote the RG."][/caption]From The Register-Guard Born almost exactly 200 years ago (June 8, 1810), Robert Schumann helped usher in and further the “new” Romantic era of classical music in Europe. Long before the distractions of the modern world, good music was an important factor not only in the concert hall, but also in salons and in people’s private homes. On Tuesday evening in the UO’s Beall Hall, we looked in on and listened to a recreation of an elegant evening in the Schumann’s home — a chamber concert in the Oregon Bach...

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Bach Festival 40th anniversary concert

  • Jul 7, 2010

[caption id="attachment_2786" align="alignright" width="219" caption="Robert Levin, Nicholas McGegan, Ya-Fei Chuang"][/caption]To celebrate its 40th anniversary, the Oregon Bach Festival presented a generous evening of works for various combinations of vocal and instrumental soloists, chorus and orchestra, Saturday at the Hult Center. During the numerous changes of set-up (which staff had to execute with the efficiency of a NASA launch) the audience was treated to video segments about the history of the festival. The clips highlighted the festival's aim of combining of tradition, innovation, and variety of genres, with the goal of bringing people together, and Saturday's concert exemplified that wonderfully. The soloists were...

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Quasthoff and Levin create superb Schubert song cycle

  • Jul 6, 2010

Oregon Music News Thomas Quasthoff gave a mesmerizing performance of German lieder in a recital of Franz Schubert’s “Die schöne Müllerin”on Thursday evening (July 1) at the Silva Concert Hall (Hult Center) in Eugene. The concert marked Quasthoff’s highly-anticipated return to the Oregon Bach Festival, which had helped to launch his remarkable career back in 1995. This time, the Quasthoff’s performance had a new twist, because it was rescued by pianist Robert Levin, who filled in at the last minute for an ailing Jeffrey Kahane. Schubert’s cycle of songs (completed in 1823) were based on a set of poems by Wilhelm Müller....

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Oregon Bach Festival goes all out in gala concert

  • Jul 6, 2010

[caption id="attachment_2788" align="alignright" width="219" caption="Robert Levin, Nicholas McGegan, Ya-Fei Chuang"][/caption]From Oregon Music News The Oregon Bach Festival cranked up the energy for its Gala concert, offering a cornucopia of music that involved choirs, instrumental ensembles, soloists, conductors, and a finely-tuned videos and slide shows that celebrated the Festival’s history. The concert, performed on Saturday, July 3rd, in the Silva Concert Hall of the Hult Center in Eugene, featured music that covered three hundred years from the Baroque era of J. S. Bach to an impressive new choral work by a college student plus two unaccompanied, improvised-on-the-spot numbers by Bobby McFerrin and...

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Quasthoff mesmerizes audience

  • Jul 4, 2010

[caption id="attachment_2792" align="alignright" width="217" caption="Thomas Quasthoff"][/caption]From the Register-Guard Every classical singer’s ideal is to communicate to an audience the emotional heart of a song or aria. Some, however, observe, even exaggerate, the accents and dynamic markings of the score without grabbing the heart of the listener. The emotions seem to come from outside the song. Renée Fleming is such a singer. Then there are the magical few whose emotional expression comes from the core of themselves and the music. Nothing is studied or stilted; they become the song. Thomas Quasthoff is the supreme example of this kind of singer. On Thursday evening,...

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OBF revises programs, artists for Kahane

  • Jul 3, 2010

[caption id="attachment_2698" align="alignright" width="220" caption="Shai Wosner replaces Jeffrey Kahane in a July 7 recital."][/caption] On July 1, the Oregon Bach Festival announced that Jeffrey Kahane, pianist and conductor, would need to withdraw from his participation in 2010 concerts. Quickly filling Kahane’s extensive role with four different performers, the OBF secured international conductor Nicholas McGegan, rising-star pianist Shai Wosner, and enlisted OBF 2010 guest artists Robert Levin and Monica Huggett for additional assignments. “We are fortunate that with the stature of the OBF and our relationships within the industry we were able to secure top-flight musicians for our audiences,” said John Evans, OBF...