The “Windstream” Festival Concert Marks Bach’s 329th Birthday

The “Windstream” Festival Concert Marks Bach’s 329th Birthday
Imants Strangots . Professional Symphonic Band “Riga”
Latvian composers interpret Bach’s music – such could be the motto for a concert that will be held at the Great Guild Hall on the 31st of March at 7 p.m., according to Ilze Miķelsone, the Marketing Officer of the Professional Symphonic Band “Riga”.

The programme of the concert includes new compositions by Laura Gustovska, Sabīne Ķezbere, Jēkabs Nīmanis, Leons Amoliņš, Vilnis Šmīdbergs and Valdis Zilveris, which will be performed by the Professional Symphonic Band “Riga”. Conductor - Mārtiņš Ozoliņš. The concert is part of the “Riga 2014” European Capital of Culture Programme; it is also part of the Spring Festival “Windstream”.

The 31st of March (New Style) is the birthday of the outstanding German composer Johann Sebastian Bach. In honour of the composer’s 329th anniversary, a competition of ideas was announced last February, on the basis of which arrangements of Johann Sebastian Bach’s compositions were commissioned. Composers whose ideas were approved by the jury have composed works that will have their premiere on the 31st of March.

Laura Gustovska has arranged Johann Sebastian Bach’s Passacaglia from Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, “combining the sound characteristic of Bach’s compositions for the organ with the contemporary music language that is sonorous and with nuanced tonal quality”. Sabīne Ķezbere has written a fantasia on Prelude in B flat major from “Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1”, where “the music language walks hand in hand with the original, sometimes taking a dive into a sonorous cloud or giving in to a contemporary music trick”. Vilnis Šmīdbergs has arranged Bach’s Concerto for Harpsichord and String Orchestra in D minor for a concert band, omitting harpsichord as a solo instrument and “using the interplays between the orchestra’s various instrument groups instead”.

Leons Amoliņš, inspired by Bach’s Minuet I and Sarabande from the French Suite, has created the “Invitation to a Dance”, where “the Minuet, being a faster dance, invites Sarabande to demonstrate its harmonic splendour and the emotionally-inward confidence,” whereas Valdis Zilveris presents an arrangement of the popular Toccata and Fugue in D minor that incorporates elements of jazz, “keeping the thematic material intact but at the same time thinking how Bach would compose it today, using contemporary composition techniques”. Jēkabs Nīmanis has taken the “Musette” from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena to interpret it “as variations, without losing any of the playfulness and lightness of the work and maintaining the link with an illustration of a traditional musical instrument.”

Tickets to the concert on the 329th birthday of Bach are available from all “Biļešu paradīze” outlets and online shop.

The spring festival “Windstream” is supported by the Riga City Council, State Culture Capital Foundation, concert organisation “Ave Sol”, Spanish Embassy in Riga, Spanish Cultural Promotion Agency AC/E, Latvian Radio 3 – Klasika, “Mūzikas Saule”, “Riga This Week”, “Easyget”, “Albert Hotel”, “Latvia Tours”, “Double Coffee”, Riga Chess Federation, Riga Chess School.

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