Concert review: Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra

Commemorating 230 years since the death of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach.

Violin player (illustrative photo) (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Violin player (illustrative photo)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
To commemorate Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach on the 230th year since his death, some of his works were performed in the recent Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra concert, conducted by David Shemer.
Doomed to live under the formidable shadow of his famous father Johann Sebastian, C.P.E. Bach undeservedly became largely forgotten. The JBO deserves gratitude for reviving at least two of his works – his sonata for harpsichord and chamber ensemble, and his concerto for harpsichord (David Shemer) and fortepiano (Gili Luftus). The concerto is a lively, refreshing work with many unexpected turns. If the orchestra had been restrained so as to not overshadow the delicate sound of the harpsichord, rendering it next to inaudible, the work’s impression would have been even stronger.
The concert also featured several works by Mozart, including his Piano Concerto No. 13. Nowadays usually performed on the piano, the piece was performed on the fortepiano, the modern piano’s predecessor. Its softer and more delicate sonority made the work more intimate, more so than the piano in the usual Symphony Hall performance, and as Mozart presumably heard it himself.
Mozart’s Contredanses were performed accurately – too accurately, in fact. It would have sounded better had it been performed with greater flexibility, more dance-like, with more Viennese elegance and charm.
Mozart’s Andante and Variations for four-hand pianoforte is actually home music, and is better performed in a chamber music hall, not an orchestra hall such as that of the YMCA, where its effect and charm are entirely lost.