The First Bath Bachfest
24 & 25 February 2012
A Resounding Success
The new Bath Bachfest started with a spell-binding concert given by the Russian violinist Alina Ibragimova with the Academy of Ancient Music. To quote Rebecca Franks in BBC Music Magazine:
Four notes. That’s all it took for Alina Ibragimova to entrance her audience in the first of Bath’s Bachfest concerts, the new heir to the city’s former Bath Bach Festival. As she began to play there was an instant, magical, hush in the audience; the glitter of the glass chandeliers seemed to blur into the background. By the end of the fiendish solo violin piece, it scarcely seemed surprising that one audience member uttered a breathless but clearly audible ‘wow’.
The outstanding young violinist’s performance of Biber’s Passacaglia in G minor for solo violin set the tone for this remarkable opening concert which, alongside more Biber and works by Vivaldi, included several J S Bach pieces.
Rian Evans, reviewing the same concert for The Guardian, opined that the success of this new festival seemed assured on the basis of this concert which contained music that was ‘simply sublime’ and ‘breathtaking stuff’.
To see excerpts from this concert visit the following website: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgDUb8IMGiM
The all-Bach full-length ‘coffee concert’ on Saturday brought Florilegium to the City again, and provided a delicious diversion on a wintry morning much appreciated by the capacity audience.
Saturday evening’s concert in Bath’s glorious Abbey provided a showcase for the considerable talents of the Retrospect Ensemble, choir and orchestra, under the baton and directorship of Matthew Halls, with accompanying soloists. Once again, journalists and early music aficionados alike adored this programme of motets and cantatas, which culminated in a short Latin Mass, consisting of the Kyrie and Gloria, which Bach wrote for feast days. This was a most fitting end to a veritable feast of the great composer’s work.
So, a resounding success for the new Bath Bachfest, under the peerless artistic direction of Amelia Freedman, which has ensured that it will continue as an annual event.
Bath Bachfest 2013
21 – 23 February 2013
I have pleasure in inviting you to the 2013 Bath Bachfest, the second of these short mid-winter festivals presented by Bath Mozartfest. The Bachfest builds on the legacy of the city’s long running Bach Festival, directed most recently by our Patron Elizabeth Bates. Once again, some of Bath’s most beautiful historic venues have been placed at our disposal as the setting for what promises to be a series of memorable events.
As the name of the festival suggests, the music of Bach is at the heart of our programmes – and this year particularly his suites of dances. The renowned Academy of Ancient Music, which launched our first Bachfest, presents the four colourfully scored Suites for orchestra, in a programme with expert commentary. Colin Carr, a celebrated exponent of the six Suites for solo cello, selects three of those for his Saturday morning performance. In addition, Bach’s Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue ends the varied Friday lunchtime recital by the brilliant young harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani.
However, we are also focussing attention on some of the other great masters of Bach’s time. The Gabrieli Consort & Players, always welcome visitors to Bath, begin the festival with Handel’s much-loved masque Acis and Galatea. And there could be no more appropriate choice of interpreters than La Serenissima for our closing visit to Venice, ending with a Baroque favourite, Vivaldi’s complete Four Seasons.
My colleagues and I look forward to welcoming you to this feast of fine music and fine music-making.
Amelia Freedman CBE,FRAM