From the seats - July 3 gala
This past weekend I attended the Oregon Bach Festival’s 40th Anniversary Gala Concert and had a fantastic time (aided by free champagne). As someone who had never attended the OBF before this summer, I amazed at the versatility of the orchestra, the soloists, and even the audience. I came to the festival expecting Bach, Bach, and more Bach. Instead, the Gala (as well as the rest of the festival) featured works by a wide variety of composers, ranging from Bach and Brahms to Gershwin and Kern. I was surprised that the same audience that came for Bach also appreciated Broadway numbers, as well as Bobby McFerrin and Thomas Quasthoff improvising on “Thinkin’ About Your Body." It’s great for the classical music world that audiences are receptive to diverse programming.
I was even more impressed by the versatility of the orchestra. As a musician, I know that it takes great mental focus to play a variety of musical styles during the same concert. The musicians did a fantastic job making the switch from Bach to Gershwin to Poulenc, as well as adapting to multiple conductors and dealing with set changes.
While the whole evening was a thrill, Thomas Quasthoff stole the show. He participated in what seemed like half the concert, singing Broadway, Beethoven and a duet with McFerrin, and seemed to be genuinely enjoying himself. I’ll be back for both performances of Elijah just to hear him sing.
—Jesse the Intern