The greatest gift to a musician or music lover must surely be the seemingly endless wealth of music spanning several centuries in western classical music. There are so many composers who have enriched the repertoire with their contributions, but very few have changed the course of music history the way that Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven have.
This week the Erie Chamber Orchestra performs three magnificent works spanning almost 300 years of musical history. The Baroque master J.S. Bach, considered by many to be the greatest composer to ever live, composed six concertos in 1721 for Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg. These compositions remain among the most beloved works of the Baroque era and our performance of the 5th Brandenburg Concerto features the remarkable talents of three of our own; harpsichordist Beth Etter, concertmaster Maureen Conlon-Gutierrez, and principal flute David Graham.
We also begin a season-long examination of four important works by Beethoven. A lifelong student of the works of Bach, Beethoven pondered towards the end of his life the creative challenges and possibilities of merging the Baroque’s most complicated musical form, the fugue, with the passionate impulses of the Romantic era, which he began. His Grosse Fugue was deemed inaccessible and eccentric by its earliest audiences. The growth in its popularity since his death is attributable to our realization that it is not a work by a composer in declining health and prowess, but of a genius continuing to forge new musical directions.
Finally, we are thrilled to welcome the exceptionally talented marimba soloist She-e Wu. She will be performing the beautiful concerto composed for her by one of America’s finest living composers, Eric Ewazen, who we are also delighted to welcome to Erie this week.