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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Bach’s belated birthday bash

    The School of Music will be hosting Arizona Bach Aria Consort: A Bach Belated Birthday Bash at 7 tonight. The concert will celebrate Johann Sebastian Bach’s 324th birthday.

    “”Bach borrowed from himself as many great composers did,”” said Grayson Hirst, professor in the School of Music and the director for the Arizona Bach Aria Consort. “”If he wrote a birthday cantata, and he wrote six or seven or eight or 10 selections for a birthday cantata that would only be played once, he put all that time and effort into that music for little reward. So he’d borrow it and he put it in a piece that would be part of the church calendar year that would be heard again and again.””

    The concert will display the contrasts within Bach’s body of work.

    “”We’re going to feature selections from the Christmas oratorio,”” Hirst said. “”We’re going to contrast those selections from that with pieces that he wrote earlier for secular cantatas, birthday cantatas and he borrowed those. He sometimes set them for different voices; he set them in different keys, for different combinations of voice and instrument, and actually changed the text to a sacred text to covey the Christmas story.””

    Audience members will be aided in their exploration of Bach’s music.

    “”Grayson does a great job always giving a lecture in conjunction with the music,”” said Christi Amonson, a vocal doctoral student. “”He explains as he goes along and it’s always a very culturally enriching show every year. Grayson will be pointing out, oh listen for this, or this will be interesting.””

    Not only is the music borrowed from Bach, the style of the group is also taken from the famous composer.

    “”Bach conducted a group in Leipzig during the last 27 years of his life called the Collegium Musicum,”” Hirst said. “”It was made up of people from the church and from the town. And the Arizona Bach Aria Consort mirrors that association that Bach conducted. It’s town and gown, if you will. There’s people from the community, advanced students from our student body, and faculty.””

    The group features six members of faculty and 19 assisting artists.

    “”There’s a lot of variety and music on a very high level,”” Hirst said, “”And since it’s such a large cast they probably have friends performing. It’s an evening designed to help people get a little closer to the mind of one of the greatest composers of all time.””

    “”Very rarely does the school of music have faculty and students share the stage. So it’s a chance to hear faculty singing along side students,”” Amonson said. “”It’s not just singers and piano. This is true chamber music, so there are flutes, violas, cellos, a double bass and harpsichord, in different combinations. Every single number will seem like a new experience. Even though it’s all Bach, there’s going to be a wide variety of colors and sounds, and lots of instruments and things to listen for.””

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