Bach Week Festival | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Bach Week Festival




By now, 22 years after its inception, Evanston's Bach Week Festival is a local institution. Never mind that its original strictly Bach agenda no longer prevails--as the programming embraces more and more of the baroque giant's near contemporaries and even some 20th-century neo-baroque practitioners. One highlight of the latest edition promises to be the Dumbarton Oaks Concerto, Stravinsky's uncanny re-creation of Bachian joie de vivre. Fittingly the Brandenburg concerto (no. 3) that served as a model is on the same program (Sunday), which also includes Handel's rousing Dixit Dominus and Bach's intricate Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor. And each of the four concerts boasts a noteworthy array of soloists. In the mostly Purcell tribute on Wednesday, the star turns are by a couple of Chicago Symphony Orchestra ace instrumentalists: bassoonist Lewis Kirk and trombonist Michael Mulcahy (in J.M. Haydn's Larghetto and a concerto for alto trombone by Albrechtsberger). Bach's Cantata no. 84 and Handel's aria "Let the Bright Seraphim," featuring the radiant voice of soprano Patrice Michaels Bedi, on next Friday's program are surefire hits, as is Cantata no. 80, to be sung next Sunday by a quartet of well-regarded local talents in observance of the 450th anniversary of Martin Luther's death. The playing of the festival's ad hoc orchestra--CSO veterans and top-drawer freelancers--may be variable, ranging from perfunctory to an inspired camaraderie, but Richard Webster, conducting the festival crew for the umpteenth time, should keep the proceedings lively and engaging. He's also in charge of Adult Schola and Saint Luke's Girls Choir and its Choir of Men and Boys, ensembles that provided the raison d'etre for the festival in the first place. Sunday, 7:30 PM, Wednesday and next Friday, May 10, 8 PM, and next Sunday, May 12, 7:30 PM, Parish Church of St. Luke, 939 Hinman, Evanston; 847-945-5625. TED SHEN

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/William Burlingham.

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