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Tallahassee Bach Parley Begins Season With Brandenburg Concerto No. 3

By: Tallahassee Bach Parley Email
By: Tallahassee Bach Parley Email

Tallahassee Bach Parley Press Release

Tallahassee, FL - The Tallahassee Bach Parley will begin their 33rd season with J. S. Bach's spectacular Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, plus the Telemann Concerto in D and Bach Cantata 209. The concert will be held at 3 PM on Sunday, November 24 at St. John's Episcopal Church, 211 North Monroe St. in Tallahassee.

The Bach Parley is unique because the ensemble performs using period instruments to recreate the way Baroque music sounded when it was composed and played hundreds of years ago, giving the audience a glimpse into the past. "Parley" means discussion in French, so at all Bach Parley concerts music director Valerie Arsenault provides engaging commentary before each piece to help the audience to understand what to listen for in the music, which is especially helpful for listeners who are new to Baroque music and period performance.

"At our concerts we like to talk about the pieces before they are performed to give some historical context for the music," Arsenault explains. "Sometimes we play phrases from the piece so the audience can listen for those parts in the performance and become more involved in the music. We enjoy playing this music so much that we want to let the audience know more about how it is put together and what we are experiencing when we perform for them."

Baroque music follows practices that are different from what a listener would expect at a symphony performance. A soloist is often thought of as a performer who is the main highlight of the piece, with the other musicians playing backup. In this Bach Parley concert, both of the concertos have multiple soloists. The Telemann Concerto in D for two flutes, violin, and cello, has four solo parts, and Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 has nine solo parts.

The Bach Parley does not have a conductor, so the musical leadership is shared among all of the musicians in a democratic fashion, and these two concertos are especially well-suited to the Parley style of music making. As the four soloists engage in musical conversation in the Telemann concerto, sometimes the melodies pair off with the two flutes on one side and the violin and cello on the other, but often the four soloists speak for themselves. Eva Amsler and Sarah Jane Young will play the solo flute parts, Valerie Arsenault solo violin, and Kim Jones solo cello.

Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 is one of the most well known pieces of music from the Baroque Era. Each of the nine soloists tosses musical phrases around the group, taking turns being in the foreground and the background. For the middle movement, Bach's score only indicates two chords, so Bach Parley harpsichordist Iain Quinn will expand these chords with an improvisation, another unique element of Baroque performance practice.

Bach set only two pieces in the Italian language, and Bach Cantata BWV 209 is one of them. It is a secular cantata, and although there is some doubt about its dating and authenticity, it may be a tribute to a colleague who is moving away for another job. In addition to the soprano solo, sung by Lesley Maxwell Mann, there is a virtuoso flute part, played by Eva Amsler, along with the usual strings and harpsichord back up.

A donation of $10 is suggested for Tallahassee Bach Parley concerts and free childcare is available. For additional information about the Tallahassee Bach Parley, visit www.tallahasseebachparley.org .


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