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Polish quartet makes fine debut

  • Jul 16, 2006

By James Bash The Register-Guard The Szymanowski Quartet made an impressive Oregon Bach Festival debut on Thursday at the Soreng Theatre in the Hult Center. Founded in Warsaw, Poland, in 1995 and named after Polish composer Karol Szymanowski, the foursome seemed to play with their eyes closed half of the time. Cellist Marcin Sieniawski, in particular, looked as if he had memorized every note. The resulting effect of this mind meld was a spellbinding, passionate and dynamic performance of difficult chamber works by Szymanowski, W.A. Mozart and Franz Schubert. The first piece was Mozart's String Quartet in F Major, which he wrote a year...

Bach-Haydn program led by masterful Rilling

  • Jul 16, 2006

By James Bash The Register-Guard Bach Festival artistic director and conductor Helmuth Rilling led the festival orchestra and chorus in a lively and spirited program of music by Bach and Haydn at the Hult Center on Friday. Sharing the stage with Rilling and his musical forces was a forest of 24 microphones - many placed at the top of tall poles - used to record Haydn's "Creation Mass" in the second half of the program, in preparation for the 2007 release of the last six Haydn masses, on the Hanssler Classic Label. The concert began with Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor,...

What they've learned: conductors

  • Jul 16, 2006

By Paul Omundson Planting seeds of inspiration and education is the underlying goal of the Oregon Bach Festival. This key purpose, nurtured since the festival began as a series of workshops and a concert in 1970, is vividly underscored in the Master Class in Conducting. The world's best young conductors vie for the opportunity to join Helmuth Rilling for two weeks of advanced training in choral and orchestral conducting that combines master classes with concerts. Here's a look at how the experience influenced three of the 2006 conducting class participants. No Longer Afraid of Bach Guadalupe Rivera, Jr. makes no bones about it. "Up...

Virtuoso music and charisma to boot

  • Jul 14, 2006

From The Register-Guard By Marilyn Farwell A Bach Festival without vocal concerts is like Oregon without rain. Unfortunately, this year's festival scheduled only one such event. Fortunately, that one event featured Maria Jette, a festival regular and a Eugene favorite. Joined by the Festival Baroque Ensemble and two superb instrumental soloists, Guy Few and Allan Vogel, Jette presented two Johann Sebastian Bach cantatas and the newly discovered "Shoebox aria" by Bach. The virtuosity of all the soloists made for a satisfying, and at times exciting evening of baroque music. The audience was abuzz as the concert began, not because it anticipated the sonata for trumpet...

Haydn concert to end up on CD

  • Jul 14, 2006

From The Register-Guard By Bob Keefer Joseph Haydn produced a dozen Masses, but the last six, composed in the final 15 years of his life, are considered to be among his masterworks. The Oregon Bach Festival and its German sister institution, the Bachakademie Stuttgart, have embarked on a project to record all six of the late Masses before 2009. That year will mark the 200th anniversary of Haydn's death, which came on May 31, 1809. This Friday night, the festival orchestra, chorus and soloists will perform and record the Creation Mass, the next to last Mass composed by Haydn. ``We have from Haydn these wonderful...

Help Wanted: Festival Executive Director

  • Jul 14, 2006

The University of Oregon today announced a job vacancy notice for the Executive Director position of the Oregon Bach Festival. Current director Royce Saltzman recently announced his intention to focus on completing the Festival's $10 million endowment following the 2007 Festival, next June 29-July 16. Further information about the Festival and the search The Festival was founded in 1970 and is a Grammy award-winning annual event that has been heralded by major media publications as a “musical enterprise virtually without equal in America� (Los Angeles Times). Under the direction of its founders, Executive Director Royce Saltzman and internationally recognized Conductor Helmuth Rilling, the...

Fascinating Experiment in B Minor

  • Jul 13, 2006

By Marilyn Farwell The Rgister-Guard How do you like your Bach? In the background with your morning coffee and newspaper? At church? In the concert hall? Or as the soundtrack for a movie? The Oregon Bach Festival served up three of these options on Sunday when it presented the American premiere of "The Sound of Eternity," a film of 27 independent sections set to coincide with the 27 parts of J.S. Bach's Mass in B Minor. And on the following day, the festival offered a performance of the same music without the film in the new Great Hall sanctuary at First Baptist Church. The two...