The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Mar 13, 2013

“The Intimate Bach, Part II” from Apollo’s Fire coming to Akron area

Posted by rdurbin

In case you missed “The Intimate Bach, Part I” from Apollo’s Fire, a Knight Arts grantee, here’s your chance to redeem yourself, for the celebrated Baroque orchestra will be coming again to appear at Fairlawn Lutheran Church on Thursday evening.

This performance has the subtitle “with his friend Telemann,” referring to Georg Philipp Telemann, who was in fact a friend of Johann Sebastian Bach, so much so that Bach asked Telemann to be godfather and namesake to Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach.

Apollo's Fire "Intimate Bach, Part II."

The two giants of Baroque era music will be featured in the AF performance, with Telemann’s “Paris Quartets” (No. 1 and 12 respectively) serving as bookends for solo Bach works performed by violinist Olivier Brault, traverso (or Baroque flutist) Kathie Stewart, and cellist Rene Schiffer. Sorrell will play and accompany on harpsichord.

Telemann has been called the most prolific of the classical composers, mostly because of the survival rate of his works. Part of that may be attributed to Telemann himself, who presumably led the way in defining a composer’s work as his intellectual property that others cannot just run off with.

The reason for AF’s selection of these two pieces is understandable since they are scored for the instruments of the evening’s performers. Apparently there are quartet versions with other instruments, but in the Baroque period, which this orchestra is famous for bringing to life again through use of period instruments and orchestration, it makes abundant sense that they would choose this version.

When this evening’s musical principals take their turn to play some of the special solo music written by Bach, they indeed will give a kind of intimacy to the evening.

First up will be Olivier Brault playing Bach’s “Ciaccona from Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor.” A ciaccona is a stately dance constructed around a reiterated harmonic pattern. The work itself is considered one of the most demanding pieces written for the instrument.

Olivier Brault, violinist. Photo from Olivier Brault, violinist. Photo from

Flutist Kathie Stewart will take the stage with Bach’s “Sonata in E minor for Flute.” The four-part work (Adagio ma non tanto, Allegro, Andante and Allegro) can be accompanied by any variety of instruments, but holding to the period, the work will be supported by harpsichord.

Kathie Steward, flutist. Photo from Kathie Steward, flutist. Photo from

Rene Schiffer, on cello, will perform Bach’s “Suite No. 2 in D minor for Unaccompanied Cello.” The composer wrote six pieces for the unaccompanied instrument. This second one, like the others, are defined as the most intimate works and thus lies a clue to their popularity.

Rene Schiffer, cellist. Photo from Rene Schiffer, cellist. Photo from

The concert is part of AF’s Fireside Concerts, whereby the program is to be about 90 minutes in duration, with a period to follow for conversations with the artists over coffee and hot cider. It is a format that serves AF well.

Apollo’s Fire will present “The Intimate Bach, Part II” at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 14, at the Fairlawn Lutheran Church, 3415 W. Market St., Akron; 216-320-0012; Tickets are $21-$35.

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