Sublime & Prolific: The Brilliance of Bach and Mendelssohn

A Faculty Showcase Recital
Friday, November 6
7:00 pm at Indian Hill Music

BACH: Arias from Cantata No. 58 and BWV 115
BACH: Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007
MENDELSSOHN: Neue Liebe, Op. 19, No. 4; Aus Flügeln des Gesanges, Op. 34, No. 2; And’res Maienlied (Hexenlied), Op. 8, No. 8
MENDELSSOHN: Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 66

Susan Bonito, soprano
Angel Hernandez, violin
Alexander Vavilov, viola
Caroline Reiner-Williams, cello
Jenny Tang, piano

Why Bach and Mendelssohn together? It was composer Felix Mendelssohn who was largely responsible for ‘discovering’ the works of J. S. Bach. Just over 150 years ago, Bach’s “music and reputation languished in obscurity, virtually unknown to all but a few specialists. It was through Mendelssohn’s recognition of Bach’s genius and his efforts in making Bach’s works accessible to a wider public that these works are today recognized as summits of musical expression. Due to the curious number of coincidences involving the crossed paths of members of both the Bach and Mendelssohn families, it was perhaps inevitable in retrospect that Felix Mendelssohn would ‘rescue’ Bach’s music from near oblivion” (Performing Arts Encyclopedia of the Library of Congress).

Susan Bonito, soprano

Susan Bonito, soprano

“When I think of the words ‘Sublime,’ and ‘Prolific,’ I think of composers whose music has a spiritual connection and composers whose output staggers the mind,” says soprano, Susan Bonito. “Both Bach and Mendelssohn certainly fit this double bill. I based my musical selections for this concert on the idea of showing musical contrasts within the compositions of each composer, while having a unifying theme such as ‘spirit.’ I also wanted to collaborate with my string-playing colleagues.”

“Bach’s sacred works convey spiritual strength and confidence that comes from faith in God,” she said. “Since this concert is so close to Halloween, I selected Mendelssohn songs that speak of the supernatural or ‘spirits’ one might think of in folklore, fantasy or the occult. These songs are all strophic in form, and are true collaborations between the piano and voice.”

“One can literally hear the fairies flying about the moonlit forest in Neue Liebe. In Aus Flügeln des Gesanges, one can bask in the lush romantic fantasy of flying on wings of song and roses whispering of love. Hexenlied or Witch’s Song paints a fantastic and dramatic picture of witches flying through the lightning and wind to attend a magnificent dance at Broken Mountain.”

Angel Hernandez, violin and Caroline Reiner-Williams, cello

Angel Hernandez, violin and Caroline Reiner-Williams, cello

Cellist Caroline Reiner-Williams will perform Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 66, with violinist Angel Hernandez, and pianist, Jenny Tang. “The Mendelssohn Piano Trio No. 2 was chosen for this program by Jenny, Angel, and me,” she said. “The trio is a beautiful, rich Romantic work, and it also includes something unusual, which is the composer’s use of the Chorale melody known as ‘Old Hundredth’ in the final movement of the piece. This same Chorale melody had been used by Bach, centuries earlier, in several of his choral works. So not only is the trio wonderful in its own right, showcasing Mendelssohn’s brilliance in the Romantic compositional style, but it also reveals a thread of continuity from earlier times and influences.”

Tickets for the concert are $10 (general admission) / FREE for Indian Hill Music students, and will be available at the door. Learn more at (978) 486-9524×116 or order tickets online. Indian Hill’s Faculty Showcase Concert Series is supported by Nashoba Real Estate.

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