Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra
Bach Father and Son
Bach figured prominently in the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra's program last week. But this time it was not Johann Sebastian being featured, rather his son, Carl Phillip Emanuel. His musical style attempts things his father avoided - above all, extroverted emotional expression, explosive temperamental outbursts, unpredictable melodic and harmonic turns, and sudden rests to create dramatic effects. His music gives us a glimpse of where Beethoven might have found some of his inspiration.
Harpsichordist Arthur Haas was unfortunately handicapped by a hall that was too large for his instrument's delicate sounds. By playing full blast instead of restraining its volume, the orchestra also did not improve matters.
However, in the unaccompanied solo passages of Bach's concertos for one and two harpsichords, one marvels at Haas' exquisite light touch, his easyflowing virtuosity, and his sensitive identification with the music.
Conductor David Shemer was an attentive partner in the "Concerto for Two Harpsichords". In "Sinfonia Nr. 5" the orchestra did full justice to the composer's many whims, and also to the unexpected melodic lyricism in the slow movement.
The difference between Bach the father and Bach the son was effectively highlighted by a selection from Johann Sebastian's "Art of the Fugue". The polite, yet not enthusiastic applause, reflected the audience's disappointment with the harpsichord's shortcomings.