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Philly Region: Bach Trio Sonatas on the 2011 Philadelphia Bach Festival

Rearranging the master — The second concert [in the Festival] provided another example of the scholarship, musical imagination, and performing skill that supports the best early music performances. Gwyn Roberts and Richard Stone, directors of Tempesta di Mare, took six of Bach’s trio sonatas for organ and arranged them for different combinations of winds, strings, harpsichord and lute. Three of their arrangements were orchestrated for standard trio sonata ensembles such as violin, recorder and accompaniment. The fourth sonata, on the other hand, became a duet for lute and harpsichord, with Stone playing a bass part as well as a melody part on his lute, usually at the same time. Sonata Number Six became a mini-concerto for the high-pitched sopranino recorder, with Gwyn Roberts’s recorder pitted against two violins. It brought the evening to a dashing close. Baroque musicians routinely rearranged pieces and changed the instrumentation. Modern arrangements of their works require scholar-musicians steeped in a tradition that died 200 years ago and blessed with creativity and taste. The result in this case was a parade of variety and inventiveness that showcased the talents of Tempesta di Mare’s leading performers.” Broad Street Review, June 2011.

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