Tafelmusik Returns For Musica Viva With An All-Bach Programme


Musica Viva presents Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Bach and His World, in a welcome return to Australia which celebrates of the genius of J S Bach with the latest multimedia creation by Alison Mackay, the mastermind of phenomenally successful productions including The Galileo Project and House of Dreams.

Bach and His World draws on spoken word, video and detailed images to explore the world of the artisans — papermakers, violin carvers, string spinners, and performers — who helped J.S. Bach realize his musical genius. Led from the violin by new Music Director, Elisa Citterio, appointed in January 2017, this all-Bach program is performed from memory on instruments of the composer’s time, the story narrated by actor Blair Williams.

“It’s about the people who made Bach’s paper, how he made his own ink, how he went about writing down his music,” Mackay explains. “It also has to do with the instrument builders, with the social and economic structures that made municipal music-making in Leipzig possible, and what the lives of his instrumentalists were like.”

Bach’s world comes alive as Tafelmusik recreates the ambience of a Friday evening at Zimmerman’s cafe in Leipzig, with images of his treasured artisans blended with footage of the craftspeople who create Tafelmusik’s instruments today. “Because the guild members of early modern Europe were obliged to guard their trade secrets, modern makers have had to be detectives, using forensic evidence from scraps of old strings and sources such as Diderot’s eighteenth century encyclopedias to determine the materials that would have been used for Bach’s instruments,” says Mackay.

Established for four decades ago, Toronto based Tafelmusik – ‘music for feasting’ – is a family of 17 collaborative musicians. Steeped in the historical traditions of the baroque and classical eras, they form one of the world’s leading period ensembles. Tafelmusik won a Helpmann Award in Australia in 2012 and has performed in over 350 cities in 32 countries worldwide. Its 85 recordings have garnered nine JUNOs and numerous other prizes, regularly earning the title of ‘Record of the Month’ in BBC Music Magazine, ‘Editor’s Choice’ in Gramophone Magazine, or ‘Record of the Year’ in Absolute Sound Magazine.

The programme: Includes JS Bach Brandenburg Concerto no 3Orchestral Suite no 1 in C major/ Excerpts from Goldberg Variations

The performers: Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra/ Elisa Citterio, Musical Director/ Blair Williams, Narrator/ Conceived, scripted and programmed by Alison Mackay


Members of Tafelmusik will also mentor talented students at a masterclass in Sydney on 1 June 2018. Members of the public are welcome to attend. Details.

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