Bach at Greyfriars
Europe’s finest converge for Johann Sebastian
This article is from 2009.
In Jonathan Mills’ third Edinburgh International Festival programme, the highly successful early evening slots he has established at Greyfriars Kirk are focused this time round on the music of one composer – JS Bach. Across eight hand-picked top international ensembles, the cantatas which lie at the heart of Bach’s immense musical output are heard alongside complementary pieces by his fellow German Baroque contemporaries, Handel and Buxtehude.
First on is the Belgium-based Huelgas Ensemble, who present PraeBachtorius, which takes a fresh look at Bach and the inspirational influence of his predecessor, Michael Praetorius. Moving onto the cantatas themselves, the Dunedin Consort, with soprano Susan Hamilton and bass Matthew Brook as soloists, performs the ‘Dialogue Cantatas’ which symbolise the conversation between Jesus Christ and the human soul.
Conceived with the aim of introducing Western baroque music to Japanese audiences, Bach Collegium Japan, who appear with their founder Maasaki Suzuki, are renowned for the beauty of their deeply moving interpretations of Bach’s music. In their EIF debut, they present a concert of solo cantatas, and can also be heard the preceding evening at the Usher Hall in a concert performance of Handel’s opera, Rinaldo.
Greyfriars Kirk, 473 2000, 20 Aug–3 Sep, 5.45pm, £17