Orchestra Roster and Program Notes
for January 20, 2002 Musica Bella Concert

Concert No. 1

Conductor: Phillip Gaskill

Sunday, January 20, 2002
Our Lady of Good Counsel Church
OUR DEBUT CONCERTS, PART 1
Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 1, BWV 1046
Rachel Varga, violin; Alexander Lesokhin, oboe
Bach: Double Violin Concerto, BWV 1043
Linda Chang Kim and Rachel Varga, violins
Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 6, BWV 1051
Jeffrey Parry and Julia Lin, violas
Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, BWV 1047
Dave Ballou, trumpet; Suzanne Gilchrest, flute; Alexander Lesokhin, oboe; Uli Speth, violin

Click on a musician’s name to see his/her bio and photo.

Brandenburg Concerto No. 1
Violin Solo
    Rachel Varga
First Violin
    Uli Speth, concertmaster
    Linda Chang Kim
Second Violin
    Yolanda Wu, principal
    Jean Park
Viola
    Jeffrey Parry, principal
    Julia Lin
Violoncello
    Anahit Harutyunyan-Gaskill, principal
    James Mark Pedersen
Contrabass
    Bill Nealon
Oboe
    Alexander Lesokhin, solo
    Ada Muellner
    David Greenwald
Bassoon
    Phil Fedora
Horn
    Theresa MacDonnell, principal
    Michael Ishii
Cembalo
    Francois Nezwazky

Double Violin Concerto
Violin Soloists
    Linda Chang Kim, first solo part
    Rachel Varga, second solo part
First Violin
    Uli Speth, concertmaster
    Yolanda Wu
Second Violin
    Jean Park, principal
    Bob Levine, snowed in on Staten Island
Viola
    Jeffrey Parry, principal
    Julia Lin
Violoncello
    Anahit Harutyunyan-Gaskill, principal
    James Mark Pedersen
Contrabass
    Bill Nealon
Cembalo
    Francois Nezwazky

Brandenburg Concerto No. 6
Viola
    Jeffrey Parry, principal
    Julia Lin
Violoncello
    James Mark Pedersen
Bass Viola da Gamba (played on muted violoncello)
    Anahit Harutyunyan-Gaskill, principal
    Phillip Gaskill
Contrabass
    Bill Nealon
Cembalo
    Francois Nezwazky

Brandenburg Concerto No. 2
Soloists
    Uli Speth, violin
    Suzanne Gilchrest, flute
    Alexander Lesokhin, oboe
    Dave Ballou, piccolo trumpet
First Violin
    Rachel Varga, concertmaster
    Linda Chang Kim
Second Violin
    Yolanda Wu, principal
    Jean Park
Viola
    Jeffrey Parry, principal
    Julia Lin
Violoncello
    Anahit Harutyunyan-Gaskill, principal
    James Mark Pedersen
Contrabass
    Bill Nealon
Cembalo
    Francois Nezwazky

PROGRAM NOTES
J.S. Bach (1685-1750) wrote the Brandenburg Concertos in Cöthen between about 1718 and 1720, when he would have been 33 to 35 years old; he was employed in Cöthen as the Kapellmeister of Prince Leopold’s court. Bach didn’t name the pieces “Brandenburg Concertos” himself; his title was “Concertos with several instruments”; but he did dedicate them to the Margrave of Brandenburg, whence they draw their popular name.

Four of the six are in the classical three-movement concerto form (fast-slow-fast) that was gaining acceptance at that time (in fact, Vivaldi is credited with perfecting it), as opposed to the older four-movement scheme. The exceptions to this are Concerto No. 1, which has an additional dance-suite mega-movement (a menuet with three trios) tacked on at the end; and No. 3, for which he didn’t write a middle movement, but only two chords (our performance employs one of the two historically authentic alternatives: a brief violin cadenza — the other being inserting an entire movement, in the right key, of course, from some other piece). You’ll still hear the two chords at the end of the violin cadenza.

Bach didn’t write specific harpsichord parts for any of these concertos — except for No. 5, which he wrote for himself to play. It’s interesting that, as his own orchestra at Cöthen had only one string player per part, and he normally was the violist in that group, he wrote only one violin part (instead of the usual two) for this concerto, since the second violin player had to play viola while Bach was playing the harpsichord part.

The Double Violin Concerto was also written in Cöthen, sometime between 1717 and 1723; it is notable for its intricate interplay between the two solo parts.

If we don’t know exactly when Bach wrote each Brandenburg concerto, we know a good deal less about when Antonio Vivaldi wrote his Double Cello Concerto — or much of his other music either, for that matter. In fact, we’re not even totally sure when he was born: 1675 and 1678 are the dates one sees. He died in 1741, having written, in addition to a vast amount of other music, about 550 concertos for different instruments and combinations thereof, although this is the only double cello concerto that survives. It was very likely written while he was employed at the Ospedale della Pietà with its famous girls’ orchestra, 1703-17 and 1735-38, but more information than that is difficult to come by, especially since he didn’t have it published, which would at least have told us the latest date it could have been composed.