Bach’s Wine : Music To Your Lips
Featuring Leela Breithaupt on Traverso
Review by Annette Skaggs
Entire contents copyright © 2014 by Annette Skaggs. All rights reserved.
Imagine yourself in Paris, mid 1700’s. You’ve been invited to a salon party where there will be fabulous wine and the chance to hear the musical styling of Telemann and Bach. That was the feel of Sunday afternoon’s Bourbon Baroque performance featuring the works of Telemann, Johann Bernhard (JBB) and Johann Sebastian Bach (JSB).
On the floor of the newly updated Old 502 Winery the Bourbon Baroque audience was treated to a delightful selection of music that featured the use of the Traverso. If you are not familiar with this Baroque period instrument, it is a precursor to the flute as we know and use it today. It has a conical core that allows for a wide range and rich sound, but still maintains the softer sound associated with modern day flutes.
The afternoon began with Telemann’s 2nd Quartet (which was actually a quintet) in A Minor from Nouveaux Quatuors en Six Suites (d.1738). John Austin Clark quipped that this was Telemann’s Rock and Roll piece. Yeah, maybe a little. I enjoyed the use of the violone instead of the bass for the lower notes.
As Phil Spray explained to the quizzical patrons, the violone is a member of the viola de gamba family and in my ear provides a lighter sound than a standard bass.
Within the first notes of the Prelude I was a little concerned that our Traverso artist, Leela Breithaupt, was not supporting the airy and light motif in the opening line, but she very quickly corrected within seconds. She was a delight to watch and listen to. The strongest movement would be in the Coulament wherein a lovely violin/cello duet was executed with melodic clarity.
On to the JBB, part of the musically talented Bach family. The Orchestral Suite in G Minor features violin solo, strings and continuo. Nicolas Fortin is effortless when moving into his solo movements and he has such depth and feel as he is playing. I did notice in the Passepied there were a few errant strings floating in the ether when cutoff was missed by a nanosecond.
Before the Orchestral Suite in B Minor for flute, strings and continuo by J.S. Bach began we were treated to a small chat by Bach scholar Dean Karns who outlined the Suite by movement in that the outer movements were based on gavottes, which is similar to what we consider square dancing. Also he shared a little bit of the personal side of Bach. When he would compose he would grab a bottle of brandy and hole himself up in a room to compose. Bach and Wine seem to go hand in hand, vous ne pensez pas?
Right off the bat, this is a fun orchestral piece. Energetic, bouncy, quick note movements and the orchestra was ready for it. Throughout the movements there was great engagement among the musicians in communicating melody and harmony. An unusual aspect of the whole Suite was that often the Flute served in unison with the strings, insomuch that sometimes you couldn’t tell the two instruments apart.
An interesting aside to this Suite: Ms. Breithaupt was reading her music from Bach’s original orchestration, his original notations. As a music geek, that is pretty darn neat if you ask me.
Season after season, Bourbon Baroque does a fantastic job of realizing their vision to culturally elevate our community’s quality of life.
Bach’s Wine : Music To Your Lips
Sunday September 14, 2014 @ 2:00pm
Monday September 15, 2014 @ 7:00pm
At Old 502 Winery
120 S. 10th St.
Louisville, Kentucky 40202