Benjamin Appl (photo: Uwe Arens)

Chamber Music

Baroque Festival

Welcome to the Bachs!

With the Berliner Barock Solisten, members of the Berliner Philharmoniker come together to pursue their passion for early music. Together with baritone Benjamin Appl and philharmonic oboist Christoph Hartmann, the ensemble presents a programme that can easily be called "Welcome to the Bachs!": with music by Johann Sebastian Bach and his two sons Carl Philipp Emanuel and Johann Christoph Friedrich. A programme that shows how musical expression changed between the generations at that time.

Berliner Barock Solisten

Bernhard Forck violin and direction

Benjamin Appl baritone

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

“Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Stande”, Cantata, Wq deest

Benjamin Appl baritone

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

Symphony for Strings and Continuo in E flat major, Wq/H deest

Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach

Pygmalion, Cantata for Bass, Strings and Continuo on a Text by Karl Wilhelm Ramler

Benjamin Appl baritone

Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach

Sinfonia for Strings and Continuo in D minor

Johann Sebastian Bach

“Ich habe genug”, Cantata for Bass, Oboe, Strings and Continuo, BWV 82

Benjamin Appl baritone

Dates and Tickets

Sat 05 Mar 2022, 20:00

Chamber Music Hall

Programme

Tonight’s programme is dedicated to the music of the Bach family. Of the total of 20 children the Thomaskantor Johann Sebastian Bach had, four sons followed in their father’s footsteps and became influential composers in their own right. They learned their craft from their father, and traces of this can be found again and again in their compositions. Over time, however, they freed themselves and followed their own stylistic paths. Sometimes, to a greater or lesser extent, you can hear in their works the galant style that was advancing from Italy to Germany. Alongside works by their father, this concert features cantatas and instrumental pieces by the composing Bach sons, with the exception of the eldest Wilhelm Friedemann and the youngest Johann Christian, who was separated from his brother by an age difference of 25 years.

The best-known work is undoubtedly Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata “Ich habe genug”. The middle aria “Schlummert ein, ihr matten Augen” is not just one of the most beautiful Bach ever wrote – the poised weariness of the opening aria and the dark ecstasy of the ending are also particularly striking. The second eldest son, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, composed his cantata “Ich bin vergnügt mit meinem Stande” immediately after leaving his parents’ home. The Symphony in E-flat major, which is full of unusual ideas, was probably also written by him. For Johann Christoph Friedrich, 20 years his junior, his father was already a man of yesteryear. His cantata Pygmalion is a masterpiece of the Sensitive style. The plot: Pygmalion falls in love with the statue he has created, which is brought to life by Venus. His Symphony in D minor, on the other hand, comes from an early creative phase and still shows influences of Neapolitan opera.

Biography

Historically informed performance practice with modern instruments – that was the idea when musicians from the Berliner Philharmoniker and leading specialists from the early music scene joined forces to form the Berliner Barock Solisten in 1995. The launch of the ensemble was an innovative project, since at that time – as Philharmonic violinist Raimar Orlovsky recalls – “early music was not cultivated at all in our orchestra”. But the Berliner Philharmoniker had a first concertmaster, Rainer Kussmaul, who inspired his colleagues with his enthusiasm for Baroque music. The members of the ensemble consciously decided to perform compositions from the 17th and 18th centuries on modern instruments. As a result, they developed their own unmistakable sound, which has since become their trademark. After Rainer Kussmaul retired in 2010, the artistic direction of the Berlin Baroque Soloists was in the hands of various people until 2017, including Bernhard Forck, Daniel Hope and Frank Peter Zimmermann. Since 2018, the ensemble has been led by Reinhard Goebel. The collaboration with this conductor is a “chance to develop performance practice on modern instruments further and redefine it for the music world”, says Raimar Orlovsky.

The Financial Times called Benjamin Appl “the most promising of today’s up-and-coming song recitalists”. The German baritone with “an almost infinite range of colours” (Süddeutsche Zeitung) sang with the Regensburger Domspatzen as a child. He studied at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich with Edith Wiens, with whom he continued his studies at the Juilliard School in New York. He then went to the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, where he studied with Rudolf Piernay, whose former students include such singers as Bryn Terfel, Michael Volle and Hanno Müller-Brachmann. Benjamin Appl was the last student of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, who had a formative influence on him: “He was and is an inspiration – someone who always sought a deeper understanding of music and life.” Benjamin Appl is an exceptionally gifted lieder singer but also appears in oratorios and operatic roles with leading orchestras and early music ensembles. The BBC named him a New Generation Artist, he was a Wigmore Hall Emerging Talent and he was awarded the Orphée d’Or Prix Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau for best lieder recording by the Académie du disque lyrique in Paris. Appl has taught at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama as Professor of German Song since 2016. His discography includes many award-winning recordings, among them a highly acclaimed anthology of cantatas by the Bach family with the Berlin Baroque Soloists and Reinhard Goebel.

Benjamin Appl (photo: Uwe Arens)

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