In celebration of renowned classical composer Johann Sebastian Bach’s 328th birthday, several CSUF instrumental soloists collaborated to perform, A Bach Bouquet: Chamber Music for Cello, Flute and Claviers.
The performance drew in a large crowd of Bach aficionados.
Samantha Sintef attended in order to better und
erstand Bach’s music.
“He (Bach) did a little bit of everything, which is why I think his music lives on,” said Sintef.
As the lights dimmed inside the grand Meng Concert Hall, the room quickly came to a silence. The concert was about to begin.
Director Rob Watson, Ph.D., solo pianist and music professor at CSUF, set a light mood as he joked with the audience that depending on how long the performance ran, the lights could go out like the blackout during last week’s Super Bowl.
Jokes aside, Watson started the evening with a superb solo clavier (piano) rendition of one of Bach’s earlier pieces, “Toccata.”
Watson’s fingers glided effortlessly across the keys. His facial expressions during the performance probably gave the audience a sense of his passion for Bach’s music.
After Watson finished “Partita in E Minor,” the next act was a duet between himself and French flute soloist, Jean Ferrandis.
Ferrandis’ flute arrangement added a pleasant, soft touch to the melody. The flute and piano harmoniously performed three of Bach’s compositions.
Ferrandis, also a flute professor at CSUF, notes that it takes a lot of hard work and practice to perform Bach’s music flawlessly.
“When you really play what is printed, it sounds perfect,” Ferrandis said.
“The program that Rob Watson did is something very different and I hope they (the audience) will feel the fantastic music in a very different way,” Ferrandis said.
After the intermission, it was the cellist and continuo’s turn to perform “Sonata in G Minor.”
Bongshin Ko, CSUF cello professor and acclaimed worldwide soloist, was accompanied by Kevin Mills, a junior at CSUF.
The cello performances carried an emotional tune due to the lively atmosphere that forecasted throughout the performance, along with a few somber moments.
Both cellists strummed and plucked their instruments while staying in sync.
One of the highlights of the evening was when Ko and Mills came back onstage for a demanded encore performance. Ko asked the audience if they would like to hear another cello piece and the audience replied with applause.
The evening ended with Watson playing alongside fellow pianist, Alison Edwards.
Edwards, a piano professor at CSUF, demonstrated her devotion to playing Bach with her effortless performance in “Concerto in C Major.”
Edwards reflected on the importance of Bach’s classical, saying, “He (Bach) was a musical genius and had a significant influence on the other great master composers who followed him.”
Among the crowd of family, friends and music fans were students of the performing professors. Edwards believes that by having students attend concerts, such as A Bach Bouquet, it will leave a lifelong impact on their careers.
“We (professors) hope that they (students) will enjoy seeing their professors doing what we are training them to do: The art of performance,” said Edwards. “[We hope] that they will become inspired because I think this is one reason and a very important reason that we perform on campus; to inspire our students to work hard (and) to dig deeper into their artistry.”
Watson and Edwards concluded the concert with a powerful rendition of “Fuga.” The pianists demonstrated the same amount of energy as when the concert began.
A few seconds after the last piano note finished, the audience loudly applauded as both musicians exited the stage. Soon after, Watson and Edwards came back onstage one last time to take a bow.
Edwards was optimistic about the audience’s reaction after hearing all of the show’s performances.
“I hope that they (the audience) will be delighted and taken away to another place during the performance,” said Edwards. “I hope that they will also become inspired to listen to more music by Bach and the other great masters.”
Sintef shared Edwards’ sentiment, saying, “Bach’s cool. Everybody should listen to more Bach.”