World-renowned Bach Collegium Japan first time in Vancouver
by Marion Van Driel
This season, Early Music Vancouver (EMV) presents Bach Collegium Japan – showcasing the works of Bach, Handel, Vivaldi and other contemporaries in a concert scheduled for December 9, 3:00 pm at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at UBC. Distinguished as a world-class interpreter of Bach music, this is the ensemble’s first-ever performance in Vancouver. The performance features soprano Joanne Lunn and is led by musical director Masaaki Suzuki.
Executive and Artistic Director of EMV Matthew White states, “This magnificent ensemble is one of the most important international advocates for Bach’s music played on period instruments. Their contributions to the world of historical performance are now legendary. Combining a meticulous precision with an obvious passion and energy, they represent the highest standard there is anywhere and I cannot wait for our audiences to hear them live.”
Dubbed “Kings from the East” by BBC Magazine, Bach Collegium Japan perform all over the world with the aim of presenting historically-informed interpretations of baroque music centering on Bach’s religious works. In 1995, with Suzuki at the helm, the ensemble began the monumental project of recording all of Bach’s liturgical cantatas in chronological order. Comprised of more than 50 CDs, this body of work has been lauded by international critics.
The single-performance Vancouver concert includes Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B Minor – BWV 1067, Vivaldi’s beloved Concerto in D Minor for Two Violins, and shorter instrumental works by composers whom Bach admired – Marcello’s Oboe Concerto in D Minor and Telemann’s Paris Quartet No. 1 in D Major.
Acclaimed British soloist Joanne Lunn is featured in Conti’s Languet anima mea, a sacred love poem included in Bach’s personal library. It is believed that this piece was performed by Bach’s wife, Anna Magdalena, indicating that her husband was significantly influenced not only by Italy’s instrumental – but also vocal – music. Soprano virtuoso Lunn studied at the Royal College of Music in London and has performed on stages throughout Europe. She’s worked extensively with Bach Collegium Japan, both recording and touring.
The concert will conclude with the only work in the programme not directly connected to Bach’s personal library. Silete venti – HWV 242 is hailed as one of Handel’s most thrilling sacred works for solo voice and chamber orchestra. Handel wrote this early cantata in Italy as a young man. It is a perfect vehicle for virtuoso Lunn, who is described as having “a voice of spun gold and a face full of conviction” by the Financial Times.
Director Suzuki founded Bach Collegium Japan in 1990 with a goal of introducing Japanese audiences to period instruments and performances of great Baroque masterpieces. Establishing himself as a leading international authority on the works of Bach, Suzuki has remained the music director since the ensemble’s formation.
Dedicated to fostering an understanding and appreciation of musical treasures from the Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical periods for almost 50 years, EMV is recognized as the largest presenter of early music in Canada, and one of the most active and innovative organizations in its field in North America.
Tickets from $18 at earlymusic.bc.ca or 604-822-2697. The Chan Center for Performing Arts is located at 6265 Crescent Road, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z1