Pianist Andrew Staupe brings two very totally different concertos to the BCO

Bahman Saless will conduct works by J.C Bach, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky

By Peter Alexander Jan. 26 at 10 p.m.

Bahman Saless. Picture by Keith Bobo.

Conductor Bahman Saless will be part of with pianist Andrew Staupe and the Boulder Chamber Orchestra Saturday (7:30 p.m. Jan. 29 on the Boulder Adventist Church) to current “Diversions from Historical past,” a program that balances some diversions from the same old programming with one of the crucial acquainted works from the Romantic period.

“That’s what you do once you do programming,” Saless says. “You go ‘effectively, we want one thing that brings the viewers in.’”

“One thing” on this case is the Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings, a chunk that the customarily self-critical composer wrote “doesn’t lack inventive price.” It doesn’t lack admirers, both, being one of the crucial carried out of Tchaikovsky’s works. It has been heard in movies, TV reveals, and, remarkably, because the lead in to industrial breaks for an NFL playoff sport.

If the Serenade supplied the viewers draw, the opposite two works on this system supplied the live performance’s title. And they’re actually a diversion from the usual repertoire: the Piano Concerto in E-flat, op 7 no. 5, by Johann Christian Bach, and the Concerto No. 1 for Piano by Shostakovich. 

Andrew Staupe

“Staupe wished to do two small concertos,” Saless defined. This may increasingly have been a response to his final efficiency with Saless and the BCO in 2018, when he performed the large Piano Concerto No 3 of Johann Nepomuk Hummel, a recent of Beethoven. “It’s loopy exhausting!” Saless says of that concerto, suggesting that Staupe wished one thing totally different this time.

Once they began in search of shorter concertos, Saless remembered conducting music by J.C. Bach in Europe. “I used to be fascinated,” he says. “Additionally, I learn that he and one other composer, (Carl Friedrich) Abel, wrote the primary piano concertos, the way in which we all know them, by way of writing for piano moderately than harpsichord.”

The youngest son of J.S. Bach, Johann Christian is named “The London Bach” from having lived there for a few years. He’s necessary in historical past as a transitional determine between his father’s Baroque fashion and the excessive traditional fashion of Mozart and Haydn, and for having taught the eight-year-old Mozart in London. In actual fact, the younger Mozart’s first concertos had been modeled on works by J.C. Bach.

At a distance of greater than 150 years, Shostakovich stands at a protracted take away from J.C. Bach. “We’re mainly enjoying the music by a composer from the start of piano concerto as we’re accustomed to, to the top of piano concerto as we’re accustomed to,” Saless says.

However there’s a musical connection, in that Shostakovich ties his concerto to earlier eras in varied methods. He makes use of contrapuntal textures that recall the Baroque period of the elder Bach within the concerto’s quick actions, and quotes themes by Beethoven, together with the “Appassionata” Sonata on the very outset, and the so-called “Rage Over a Misplaced Penny” within the finale.

Derek McDonald

Shostakovich initially got down to write a trumpet concerto, however in some unspecified time in the future he determined that the music wanted a piano. As he continued to compose, the piano turned extra outstanding, till he determined it was turning right into a concerto for piano—with trumpet—though it’s successfully a double concerto for the 2 devices. The trumpet soloist can be Derek McDonald, the principal trumpet of the BCO.

The 2 soloists have their work lower out for them, Saless says. “The tempos are so wild! When it’s that quick, it’s a tough piece to place collectively. We’re going to should apply quite a bit.”

Due to the quick tempos, “the pianist makes the selections as a result of the jumps within the left hand between the very finish of the piano and the center are ridiculous. A lot of the tempos got here from (Staupe) and (McDonald) is simply ensuring that he can play on the tempo that Andrew desires.”

In locations it goes so quick that “one of the best factor (for the conductor) is to not get in the way in which,” Saless says. “You simply conduct actually small and allow them to do it. And also you pray!”

Tchaikovsky wished a big, lush string orchestra for the Serenade. The BCO is proscribed in numbers, because of COVID and the small stage area of the Adventist Church the place they carry out. “The issue is, how many individuals can we match on that stage, and the way many individuals can we WANT on the stage in the course of the pandemic,” Saless says.

“However we’ve acquired 24 strings, so that is considered one of our greater string sections. We now have 5 cellos and two basses, which is fairly large for us. It’s going to be a pleasant, full sound.”

It’s not apparent, however the Serenade’s wealthy, Romantic rating has a connection to the Classical parts of the opposite works on this system. Tchaikovsky was an ardent admirer of Mozart, to whom he meant a tribute within the Serenade’s first motion.

Whether or not you hear a reference to Mozart—and it’s refined—or hear the Beethoven quotations in Shostakovich, this system of three different works is designed to attraction to different tastes. And Saless hopes it would be best to expertise all three. “Come hear,” he says, suggesting a pun. 

“Come see. And hear!”

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“Diversions in Historical past’
Boulder Chamber Orchestra, Bahman Saless, conductor
With Andrew Staupe, piano, and Derek McDonald, trumpet

  • Johann Christian Bach: Piano Concerto in E-flat main, op. 7 no. 5
  • Shostakovich: Concerto No. 1 for Piano
  • Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29
Boulder Adventist Church, 345 Mapleton Ave., Boulder


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