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Monday, May 6, 2013

From Baroque to Classical

Ensemble Musical Offering performs Telemann, Bach

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While the lives of Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767) and Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) were not closely intertwined, they did intersect in more than just a casual manner. Of immediate interest is the upcoming convergence of their music at the Ensemble Musical Offering’s concert at the Cathedral Church of All Saints.

Telemann, one of history’s most prolific composers, was generally considered the most important German composer of his day. Largely self-taught, his musical language incorporates German, French, Italian and Polish styles. A friend of Handel and Bach, Telemann was an important link between late Baroque and early Classical styles. Ensemble Musical Offering performs a highly characteristic Telemann piece—his Overture Wassermusik “Hamburger Ebb’ und Flut,” a multi-movement orchestral suite.

The word “orchestral” is used loosely, for in the Baroque sense it usually meant a rather small ensemble—a string quartet with one or more woodwinds and trumpets.

Ensemble Musical Offering also performs Bach’s Orchestral Suite in B Minor, one of four such works composed between 1725 and 1739. All four suites stand among Bach’s most popular in an oeuvre of more than 1,100 works. Interestingly, Bach was better known in his day as an organist than as a composer. While he has securely supplanted Telemann nowadays as the Baroque composer par excellence, the latter is increasingly (and rightly) receiving his due.

Ensemble Musical Offering performs both works in a concert titled “The French Bach,” held at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 11, at Cathedral Church of All Saints, 818 E. Juneau Ave. A pre-concert talk will be offered at 7 p.m., and the event will be followed by a French pastry reception.

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