Bach's invention and artistry are the centerpieces of this pensive program. Joined by accomplished Canadian violinist James Ehnes, Noseda and the NSO present works by Berio, Berg, and Brahms that are as diverse in their origins and character as they are unified in their appreciation for the legendary Baroque master.
The concert opens with Contrapunctus XIX, one of Berio's last compositions. The orchestral work completes Bach's unfinished final contrapunctus from The Art of the Fugue: at the end, Bach's rich baroque counterpoint gives way to haunting dissonant sustained notes. Next James Ehnes takes the stage for Berg's Violin Concerto. Composed in honor of a friend's young daughter who died prematurely, the tragic event is memorialized with the concerto's closing set of variations on Bach's beloved Ich habe genug. Brahms' Symphony No. 4 completes the Bach-inspired evening: in the final movement, the great Romantic composer uses the passacaglia form Bach's cantata "Nach Dir, Herr, verlanget mich" as the basis for a finale characterized by incredible intricacy and emotional impact.
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Photo: James Ehnes © B. Ealovega
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