News Column

Chamber festival's weekend concerts take wide-ranging view of Bach

June 18, 2014

By Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press

June 18--The 21st annual Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival heads into its second weekend with a diverse set of concerts rich in reflections and refractions of Johann Sebastian Bach, whose influence provides one of the major themes of this year's event.

For example, the program Thursday night and Friday morning at Temple Beth El (Bloomfield Hills) opens with Mendelssohn's arrangement for violin and piano of Bach's great "Chaconne" from the D Minor Violin Partita. The program also includes the world premiere of Peter Schickele's "Pastorale for Flute and Strings," a harpsichord concerto by Manuel de Falla and Mendelssohn's Piano Trio No. 2.

Saturday's concert at Seligman Performing Arts Center (Beverly Hills) is all over the map, promising humor -- Glenn Gould's satirical "So You Want to Write a Fugue?" and the inimitable P.D.Q. Bach's "Goldbrick Variations" -- as well as varied pieces by Bach, Villa-Lobos, Ernst Toch and Wagner. If you didn't know, Schickele and P.D.Q. Bach are one and the same, which is to say that the former composer famously invented the latter as an alter ego to poke fun at the establishment.

On Monday at Temple Beth El, Schickele, who is the resident composer of the 2014 Great Lakes festival, gets an evening in the spotlight all to himself. Almost all of the music represents the composer's alluring concert music, with one slot set aside for that interloper, P.D.Q. Bach.

A cross-section of the festival's artists will be heard at these performances, among them violinists Tai Murry and Yoonshin Song, pianists Frederic Chiu, Pei-Shan Lee and Anton Nel, cellist Peter Wiley, flutist David Buck and a gaggle of others. The festival continues throughout metro Detroit through June 29. 248-559-2097. Complete programming schedule here. Single tickets $35-$40, $10, students.

So long, Teddy: The Detroit Symphony Orchestra says farewell to its talented young assistant conductor Teddy Abrams, who leads the last Neighborhood Series concert of his tenure on Friday in Canton. Abrams, who starts his new job as music director of the Louisville Orchestra in September, almost assuredly will return to Detroit to conduct on occasion. But for this bye-for-now concert, Abrams will lead a chamber-sized DSO through music by Haydn, Bach, Thomas Tallis, Jeremy Kittel (who grew up in southeast Michigan) and others, including one of his own pieces. And if conducting and composing weren't enough, Abrams also will play piano in several works, including Brahms' Piano Quintet, and play clarinet on two others.

8 p.m. Friday, Village Theater at Cherry Hill, 50400 Cherry Hill, Canton. 313-576-5111.$25, $10 students.

DSO heads to Stony Creek: The full DSO travels to Stony Creek Metropark on Saturday for an Americana-themed program of light classics conducted by Brett Mitchell. It's the first appearance at Stony Creek for the DSO in four years, though unlike the past when the orchestra offered free parks concerts, this one is a ticketed events. Grounds open at 6 p.m., with the concert at 8:30 followed by fireworks at 10. 4300 Main Park Dr., Shelby Township. 313-576-5111. General admission lawn seating $20, $12 youth (folding chairs and lawn blankets are encouraged). Premium seating including a chair in VIP section and closer parking, $50.

Contact Mark Stryker: 313-222-6459.


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Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)

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