Bach in Fredonia for 19th year

A celebration of Baroque music, the 19th Bach and Beyond Festival, began Friday evening at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House. The crowd of classical music enthusiasts tuned in to the playing of strings, conducted by Artistic Director and Conductor Grant Cooper.

The night kicked off with Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach’s (C.P.E) “Sinfonia in C” followed by Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Sonata for Violin,” played by Julie Leven on the violin, Sean Duggan on the harpsichord and Amber Ghent on the violoncello.

The concert welcomed Fr. Duggan to the program as a new member of the International Baroque Soloists. Duggan, a monk of St. Joseph Abbey in Covington, La., received his music degree from Loyola University in New Orleans. He has performed in the Louisiana Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic and the Pennsylvania Sinfonia among others.

Duggan played “Prelude and Fugue” in A minor on harpsichord. He will be returning to Fredonia State this fall to teach. Over the years, Duggan has played a lot of Bach’s music on the piano in Fredonia.

“In the year 2005-2006, I played 16 concert cycles of all Bach’s solo music, so that’s a lot of music,” Duggan said. “We went through it in a chronological way, starting with the early pieces of Bach, which aren’t really played, to the familiar pieces.”

The evening of classical music concluded with “Twelve Waltzes” by Domenico Dragonetti and “Concerto for Flute, Violin, and Harpsichord,” composed by J.S. Bach.

This year’s program focuses on J.S. Bach’s son, Carl Philipp Emanuel, and his birth 300 years ago. Born in Germany in the year 1714, C.P.E was a German composer and musician who left his legal career behind to pursue music.

Cooper during the Bach and Before pre-concert conversation talked about C.P.E. Bach’s career and the style of his music. Cooper stated that he was a musician character who liked his musical works to keep going and going.

“He was the most successful of Bach’s children,” Cooper said. “He was the most loyal to his father in terms of preserving his father’s legacy; paying tribute to him, and still allowing himself to write somewhat in that style. His music will delight you in its turns. “

Before the concert,Cooper, who conducts the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, held a 30-minute talk about the program with Fr. Duggan. During the pre-concert conversation, he talked to the audience about certain elements during the concert to listen for and the historical context of the music. The pre-concert talk was a way for people to gain insight into the music and the composers.

One of the topics discussed was the difference between a forte piano and piano forte. Duggan explained the difference.

“Both of them are piano fortes,” Duggan said. It’s convenient to call the early ones forte pianos because the first name given to the piano by its inventor in Italy, Bartolomeo Cristofori, was harpsichord with soft and loud. People have always called it piano forte or forte piano or piano.”

The 19th Bach and Beyond Festival continues today and Sunday with more musical works from C.P.E. Bach, J.S. Bach, and Georg Phillip Telemann. Before each performance will be a pre-concert discussion with Cooper.

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