Bach in the Dark returns

As the days get longer, cellist Rachel Scott takes us once again into the atmospheric underworld of “Bach in the Dark”. In this round of concerts she joins forces with Rachel Tolmie who performs on the cor anglais. There isn’t much original repertoire for this mix of instruments and both Scott and Tolmie have been busy writing special arrangements  for cello and cor anglais.

Although the music of J S Bach was and will be the core repertoire of Scott’s themed concerts, they are by no means limited to these works. In the September series she will include works by Bela Bartok, Martin Wesley –Smith, Elena Kats-Chernin and others, much of which refers back to Bach, which makes for rather clever and very interesting programming.

After opening with Hildegard von Bingen’s Sequentia de Spiritu Sancto, there are arrangements of J S Bach by Martin Wesley- Smith. Wesley- Smith’s original work Uluru Song is in the line-up as well as other works by Bach and Schumann. Linking these two composers are Bartok’s two Homage to Bach and Schumann.

The music then brings us to the 20th century with ragtime from Scott Joplin and the popular Eliza Aria by Kats-Chernin. Scott confides that arranging the Eliza Aria for cello and cor anglais was a challenge for which composer Ben Sibson had some input. However the finished product has the composer’s seal of approval!

Scott plans her concerts around disbanding the “stuffiness” of classical concerts and encourages informality as she interacts with her audience who range in age from primary schoolers to seniors.

“Bach in the Dark” goes to Katoomba as well as to Robertson. Here in Sydney it is an unusual opportunity to see the crypt at St James King Street and experience a concert there. Hearing the sound of two rarely combined instruments – the cello and the cor anglais, in the half-light and pure acoustic of a crypt – surely a rare musical experience, as Scott poses the challenge: “When was the last time you really stopped and listened to beautiful music?”

Tickets for Sydney concerts: $30, call (02)9591-1207 for bookings.

 Katoomba: Saturday 10th September 7.30 pm, Nolan on Lovel Gallery.

Tickets are $20/$15. Booking are essential call Terry Nolan on (02) 4782 6231.

Robertson: Sunday 18th September 2.30 pm, Robertson Village Music Society

Tickets are $30 and include afternoon tea.

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