.Going for Baroque

Haunting, exquisite music in unforgettable concerts

Prepare your ears for the astounding rock music of the 17th century. The 51st season of the acclaimed Santa Cruz Baroque Festival is upon us, and is already the stuff of legend.

While it would be impossible to adequately honor the Festival’s brilliant founder, Linda Burman-Hall—to whom this season is dedicated—she would definitely be impressed by the current programming.

This season’s Artist-in-Residence is wunderkind Jörg Reddin—organist, Baroque musician, singer and conductor—who currently occupies one of the roles once held by Johann Sebastian Bach.

The choral director/organist at the Bach Church in Arnstadt Germany is making his North American debut at the Festival. A virtuoso singer of Baroque opera and cantatas, Reddin has recorded solo organ works and performed throughout the leading music festivals of Europe. He is, in a word, major.

Joining Redding in the course of the Festival concerts will be illustrious collaborators, including UCSC opera director soprano, Sheila Willey; keyboard virtuoso Vlada Volkova-Moran; oboist Marc Schachman, Erick Anderson, Violoncello, Penny Hanna Viola da Gamba, and the UCSC Chamber Singers conducted by composer/choral director Michael McGushin.

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You’ve heard about the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival for as long as you’ve lived in Santa Cruz, and if you’ve never attended one of the concerts, this is the year to make up for that oversight. Burman-Hall, who tragically died last summer, founded the group so that the exquisite music of the late 17th century (and early 18th century) could be performed in as close to authentic style as possible.

 A recording artist and rock star on harpsichord, Burman-Hall was devoted to the mesmerizing chamber music—Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Purcell, Scarlatti, and friends—that enlivened countless ballrooms, private salons and royal courts from roughly 1600-1750. Over the years, the  SC Baroque Festival expanded its focus to include even more rarely-performed music, as well as works by later maestros such as Beethoven.

Intensely, some might say fanatically, devoted to the music that paved the way for the glory days of classical music, the Baroque Festival revels in the ornate music of the pre-digital golden age. Expect bursts of musical extravagance, dancing counterpoint amidst mathematical inventions and ravishing string and woodwind ornamentation. There is nothing boring about Baroque music, it takes your consciousness to new and unexpected neighborhoods. Can you say Monteverdi?

With Reddin at the organ, giving Baroque-lovers a taste of virtuoso Bach, the remaining concerts of this year’s Festival promise to be unforgettable.

On February 24, Artist-in-Residence Jörg Reddin takes the keyboard of the Peace United Church organ to perform Virtuoso Bach by Candlelight, solo organ works from Bach’s churches in Arnstadt, Weimar and Leipzig. (Tickets).

On Saturday March 9, Bach and his Precursors, also at Peace United Church, Reddin is joined by Sheila Willey, Vlada Volkova-Moran on organ, Penny Hanna’s viola da gamba, and the UCSC Chamber Singers performing sacred songs and organ works by Bach and Dieterich Buxtehude. (Tickets)  Listen closely and you can practically hear Bach inventing the algorithm.

The season finale April 6 features Erik Anderson at the UCSC Recital Hall performing J.S. Bach solo cello Suites on Baroque Violoncello. (Tickets).

Powerful and intricate, Baroque Festival concerts are as breathtaking as live music gets. Presented in settings with great acoustics. Prepare your ears to be astonished!



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