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Conductor, Violinist add Drama to Seasons

  • Jul 12, 2008

[caption id="attachment_2972" align="alignright" width="220" caption="Nicholas McGegan and Sarah Chang in rehearsal for The Four Seasons"][/caption]If I were asked to name four Baroque violin concertos that have the audience appeal of say, the 19th century concertos of Felix Mendelssohn or P.I. Tchaikovsky, I’d probably say “The Four Seasons,” the set that Antonio Vivaldi published in 1725. And as delivered by violinist Sarah Chang on Thursday at the Hult Center, I’d have a pretty strong argument for choosing those. As James McQuillen writes in his program notes, the pieces are “program music — Baroque tone poems, so to speak.” The 27-year-old celebrity violinist, who...

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One Violinist, Many Time Zones, "Four Seasons"

  • Jul 10, 2008

Sarah Chang arrived in Eugene to play Antonio Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" at the Oregon Bach Festival. Bob Keefer spoke with her at the Hult Center as she began rehearsals. "I have strong feelings about how to play Vivaldi!" she says. "I do embellish a bit. But after having a lot of fun embellishing the music to within an inch of its life, I have gone back to what Vivaldi actually wrote. It's really pretty. He really knew what he was doing." Visit The Register-Guard to read the full story.

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Shanghai Quartet adds to China connection

  • Jul 9, 2008

The excitement of the Olympic Trials and the accomplishments of our China-bound athletes may have grabbed most of the headlines last week, but a quartet of musicians from China proved that performances of chamber music, in the right hands, can be as engaging as athletic feats. The Shanghai Quartet, which has been in residence this week at the Oregon Bach Festival, offered a less boisterous kind of experience Monday evening. But to music lovers, an exciting, world-class experience just the same, when they brought their extroverted style of playing to the Hult Center’s Soreng Theater. The foursome opened with Samuel Barber's String...

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Concert teaches a magnificent music lesson

  • Jul 8, 2008

[caption id="attachment_2976" align="alignright" width="220" caption="The OBF Chorus delivered a meticulous Haydn mass."][/caption]Marilyn Farwell gives an account of Sunday's concert, with much praise for this year's OBF soloists, Sibylla Rubens, Ingeborg Danz, Lothar Odinius and Michael Nagy: Intentional or not, Helmuth Rilling’s juxtaposition of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Magnificat” and Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Heiligmesse” in Sunday’s Oregon Bach Festival program provided a wonderful lesson in the difference between Baroque and classical musical idioms. Dynamic contrasts were hallmarks of this performance. Rilling demands rigorous phrasing and articulation from the orchestra and exact pronunciation and nuanced textual meaning from the chorus. Both orchestra and chorus followed...

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Bowerman tribute concert an entertaining, eclectic mix of music, video

  • Jul 3, 2008

[caption id="attachment_2980" align="alignright" width="219" caption="Theresa, Barbara, and Jay Bowerman celebrate following the concert."][/caption]After glowing encomiums to and fond remembrances of Bill Bowerman from University of Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer and Oregon Bach Festival co-founder Helmuth Rilling, there seemed little more that could be said Tuesday in praise of the famous track coach at the Bach Festival’s program in his honor. Two-thirds of the way through the largely musical program, however, Steven Bass, president of Oregon Public Broadcasting, summarized Bowerman’s influence with two extraordinary facts: Without Bowerman there would be no Olympic Trials taking place in Eugene today, and there would be...

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Oregon Bach Festival branches into a Bill Bowerman tribute

  • Jul 3, 2008

[caption id="attachment_2978" align="alignright" width="220" caption="Helmuth Rilling speaks of Bill Bowerman before launching into the Easter Oratorio"][/caption]The audience in the Hult Center included Phil and Penny Knight, Olympic athletes, Bill Bowerman's widow, University of Oregon track coach Vin Lanana and other sporting bigwigs. Not the usual guest list at an Oregon Bach Festival concert. But then, the night was hardly usual. On Tuesday's rest day at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, the international Bachathon known as the Oregon Bach Festival also paused, paying tribute to Bill Bowerman, the man who put Eugene on the running map and helped found Nike. The...

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Ticket Sales Tickle Bach Festival Officials

  • Jul 3, 2008

Bob Keefer reports in the Register-Guard: The Oregon Bach Festival may be headed for record financial success this year. On Wednesday, the sixth day of the 17-day festival, ticket sales had nearly reached the budgeted goal for its entire run, a delighted executive director John Evans said. The news was especially sweet for Evans, who is in his first year on the job. He replaced festival co-founder Royce Saltzman last summer. “By the time we start our second full week it looks as though we will have reached our financial goal for the entire festival,” he said. “We are already at 93 percent.” The festival’s...