Gustavus Opens Performance Season With Brandenburg No. 5

Posted on September 13th, 2013 by

Guest Conductor Henry Charles Smith

Guest Conductor Henry Charles Smith

To celebrate the beginning of a new performance season at Gustavus Adolphus College, the Department of Music is pleased to present a concert featuring one of the most respected compositions of the Baroque Era, Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, on Friday, September 20, 2013. Performed by a chamber ensemble comprised of Gustavus music faculty and their students and conducted by guest conductor Henry Charles Smith, this opening performance of the season will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the College’s Jussi Björling Recital Hall. The performance is free and the public is cordially invited to attend.

Composed under the patronage and dedicated to the Margrave of Brandenburg, Christian Ludwig, Bach’s 6 concerto grossi are considered some of the finest examples of Baroque music written. Composed in 1719 for a competition in Dresden, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major, BWV 1050 (also known as Concerto 5to à une Traversiere, une Violino principale, une Violino è una Viola in ripieno, Violoncello, Violone è Cembalo concertato) is considered the first example of a concerto with a solo for keyboard instrument, in this case, a harpsichord. The Concerto is well-suited throughout to show off the qualities of a fine harpsichord and its player, especially in the long solo cadenza in the opening movement. A virtuoso harpsichordist and organist, it is believed that Bach was the harpsichordist in the concerto’s premiere performance. In addition to the addition a harpsichord solo, Bach incorporated a popular ensemble combination (violin, flute and harpsichord) in the second movement. This “concertino” section will include Gustavus faculty flutist, Barbara Leibundguth; violinist Jill Olson Moser and guest harpsichordist Donald Livingston.

For this performance, the Gustavus Department of Music is pleased to bring Maestro Henry Charles Smith to the Björling Recital Hall stage as guest conductor. Smith is best known in Minnesota for his years of service to the local music public with the Minnesota Orchestra. While on the conducting staff of the Minnesota Orchestra, he conducted over 1,000 concerts. As solo trombonist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, he played more than 2,000 concerts with Eugene Ormandy and many other of the 20th Century’s greatest conductors. As trombone and euphonium soloist, as chamber music player, and as writer and editor, his recordings and editions are internationally known.  He is frequently a guest conductor, speaker, clinician and soloist across the United States. In addition to his work with the Minnesota Orchestra, his guest conducting includes the Detroit, Dallas, and Kansas City Symphonies, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the National, San Antonio and Indianapolis Symphonies. Smith has conducted the Young Artist Orchestra at Tanglewood and was Music Director of the World Youth Symphony Orchestra at Interlochen Arts Camp for 16 years. The Maestro spent twelve seasons as Music Director and Conductor of the South Dakota Symphony. Henry Charles Smith won the Grammy with the Philadelphia Brass Quintet for the “Best Classical Record of the Year” in 1969.

In addition to the members of the concertino, the Concerto’s chamber ensemble includes violinists Kendra Frey, Ana Hollander and Elizabeth Froden; violists Karin Dye and Emma Breitenstein; faculty ‘cellist Sharon Mautner-Rodgers and bassists Rolf Erdahl (faculty) and Michael Eastwood.

Friday’s performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major will begin in Jussi Björling Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m. As with most performances at the College, admission is free and the public is warmly invited to attend this performance.



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