uncharitable Margrave of Brandenburg, made the court at Cöthen sound for a time like the center of a pretty swell musical universe.There is wisdom in playing these pieces in numerical order and while you might want to reorganize themfor this purpose or that, I believe in Cooper’s admonition that playing them in order gives you the bigthings first, concluding with the paring down that creates such a brilliant finish. The
for flute,violin and harpsichord is of course spectacular and full of virtuosity at the keyboard and notable for howoften musicians are not playing, including the soloists. The question is, can you really just stop there. Ithink not. The
gives us a very necessary dénouement as well as a final homage to Vivaldi inthe shivering figures of the ultimate movement. Finally there is the long reprise in the last movement thatmakes you feel that Bach himself was reluctant to let go of his spirited creation. Here is how all that playedout in the concert. The additions and interpolations to the standard form of these concertos were suppliedexpressly for this concert by Kenneth Cooper.In the opening
Concerto in F Major
, Caitlin Kelly did a masterful job centering her solo violin part againstthe large orchestra. Horn players Emily Nagel and Johanna Yarbrough were terrific and played with flarethat was both boisterous and, when needed, subdued. You could have imagined this one in the open air with some of the spirit of say, Handel’s
The improvising began early on with Cooper fillingsome of the spaces with his textural flourishes on the harpsichord. In the
the ending especially wasmanaged with finesse as were the complexities of the
Menuet, Trios and Polacca.
Zdanis played the bassoon obbligato section with carefully shaped phrases and clear articulations.
horns again were brilliant in their heraldic section in
Trio II .
Cooper had originally asked for some free improvising from theorchestra in the third movement
which happened with some unusual effects in rehearsal but less soin the performance.
Concerto No.2 in F Major
Concerto No 3 in G Major
both had exceptional moments. I liked theconversational rapport among the soloists ( Melody Lee, Gina Luciani and Jamie Roberts playing violin,flute and oboe) and the well balanced playing by David Etterbeek on trumpet. Striking moments came inthe endlessly descending bass line of the first
G Major Concerto
. The dynamics here were particularly effective. Cooper replaced the two chords of the second movement with a full scale movementfrom the
F minor Harpsichord Concerto No. 5
, another of Bach’s reworked, long, ornamented melodies.Taking turns in bringing the solo line to life were the cellos, violas and violins in triplets, who nimblyhanded off phrases in a kind of musical round table. Two horns were also reintroduced here to good effect.They added a glow to the outer movements that, in this arrangement, felt entirely in keeping with the intentof the concerto.
Interval Concerto No. 4 in G Major
was unique for the inclusion of an off stage wind trio--oboe, english horn and bassoon--in the
. They shared the dialogue between the soloists and the orchestra. Cooper had them placed (to good effect) at the back of the hall. Clare Brazeau, John Winstead and Andrew Brady were thewind soloists and played with an exceptional blended sound. Flute soloists, Francesco Camuglia and Mark Teplitsky were also excellent and unified in their playing. Playing with fervor and great expression wasZlata Grekov in the solo violin part. Her virtuoso playing in the both the outer movements was exceptional.She was a powerful force with a very sweet sound throughout the concerto. Also excellent were cellos and bass, especially in the
where the ensemble playing was striking.
Concerto No. 5 in D Major
lifts the harpsichord out of its role in the continuo and Cooper seized on thatfact to create an oceangoing statement with his playing. He manages to coax an extraordinary amount of sound from the instrument. His playing in the cadenza of the first movement
was rich, full of exciting textural changes, and resetting of tempos as it moved from section to section. Leaving behind theorchestra and soloists, it was music that left you with the impression of looking through a keyhole into a