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Anniversaries are the name of the game

  • Jun 27, 2009

You might look at this year’s Oregon Bach Festival as a sprawling musical anniversary party. 2009 marks 250 years since composer George Frideric Handel died. It’s been 350 years since English Baroque composer Henry Purcell was born. Joseph Haydn died 200 years ago, in 1809, the very year German Romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn was born. Music from all four of those great composers — not to mention music by Johann Sebastian Bach himself — will be featured in this year’s festival, which opens with concerts Friday night in Eugene and Saturday night in Portland. The event then runs through July 12, with more than...

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Makeover for the 'MESSIAH'

  • Jun 27, 2009

[caption id="attachment_2875" align="alignright" width="171" caption="Sven-David Sandstrom"][/caption]Imagine being hired to repaint the Mona Lisa. To rebuild Notre Dame. To rewrite “Huckleberry Finn.” That’s how Swedish composer Sven-David Sandström felt when the Oregon Bach Festival approached him to compose a new “Messiah,” based on the same text used 2½ centuries ago by George Frideric Handel. “It’s almost like someone asking you to make a new Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony,” Sandström said in a telephone interview earlier this month from his home in Sweden. Click here to read the full story at The Register-Guard.

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Choral classic

  • Jun 27, 2009

[caption id="attachment_2873" align="alignright" width="220" caption="PICCFEST"][/caption]The 40th Oregon Bach Festival opened Friday night at Eugene's Hult Center to a gala crowd and farewell remarks from departing University of Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer. After its biggest attendance year ever in 2008, the festival is coming up against economic realities in 2009, and opening night was far from a sell-out. The Hult's Silva Concert Hall looked to be about two-thirds full. But empty seats failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the musicians or audience members at the Hult on Friday as Artistic Director Helmuth Rilling conducted the Bach festival orchestra, chorus and soloists in Haydn's...

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Turn On, Tune In

  • Jun 27, 2009

[caption id="attachment_2871" align="alignright" width="166" caption="On Ensemble"][/caption]Oregon Bach Festival Executive Director John Evans was once a percussionist, so as he tries to expand the venerable music institution's stodgy programming, maybe it's no coincidence that he chose the On Ensemble. The L.A. based group, which plays the Hult Center June 27, plays not only taiko (the powerful traditional Japanese percussion music) but also brings in Tuvan throat singing, other traditional Japanese instruments such as koto and shamisen, plus elements of contemporary Western music including electronica, hip hop and rock. It's a true global fusion, and a welcome injection of musical modernity and...

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Marking time at the Laundromat

  • Jun 18, 2009

Pencils, notes and the life of an OBF chorus member EUGENE WEEKLY June 18, 2009 By Suzi Steffen A week or two ago, Amy Adams took her score for Sven-David Sandström’s new Messiah to the laundromat. Not to wash or dry it, of course — she calls the score a beautiful, clean edition that has plenty of room for musicians’ notes — but to sit with it in relative silence and, by reading it intensely, to achieve a mind-meld. Adams, one of the few Eugene members of the 54-voice Oregon Bach Festival chorus and the manager for the Eugene Symphony Chorus, wants to understand...

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Haydn's Creation Opens Festival, Composer Tributes

  • Jun 10, 2009

Launching the Oregon Bach Festival’s tribute to major anniversaries of great composers, Helmuth Rilling, the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus and Orchestra, and a trio of international soloists perform one of the most beautiful and joyous of choral works, The Creation by Joseph Haydn Friday, June 26 in Eugene and Saturday, June 27 in Portland. In commemoration of the 200th year since his death, it’s an ideal time to recognize and remember Haydn’s genius. Composing with great ingenuity and creativity, with a wealth of resources at his disposal, he became one of history’s most accomplished, prolific, and influential composers. In The Creation, like...

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Bach in Bend Serves as Fest Prelude

  • Jun 9, 2009

Although the Oregon Bach Festival won’t officially open its 40th season until June 26, Central Oregon music lovers will hear a sample of the good music to come, prior to opening night. On Tuesday, June 23, the baroque ensemble Bach’s Circle will perform at the Tower Theatre, 835 NW Wall St. in Bend at 7 p.m. Tickets are $22 and $17 via the Tower Theatre ticket office. Bach's Circle was formed in 1998 to serve the music of Johann Sebastian, his sons, and contemporaries, to give audiences further opportunity to be enriched by some of the world's greatest music. The group is comprised...