Sons who go into the family business are often less successful than their fathers. In the case of the J.S. Bach family, though, it was just the opposite. Four of the ten Bach children who survived to adulthood went on to careers as composers and the two represented in this weekend's St. Louis Symphony concerts—Carl Philipp Emanuel (1714-1788) and Johann Christian (1735-1782)—went on to eclipse dad in popularity, at least during their lives.
As anyone who has ever taken a "music depreciation" course knows, Johann Sebastian Bach was almost as prolific a father as he was a composer. This weekend, Nicholas McGegan leads the St. Louis Symphony in a concert that's a genuine Bach family affair, featuring music by both J.S. Bach and two of his musical sons.
This weekend (December 5-7, 2014) the major work on the St. Louis Symphony program is the set of violin concertos by Antonio Vivaldi known as "The Four Seasons." It's a popular work with performers and audiences alike. As I discovered in my research for this post, it also has a long and significant history with the SLSO.
As I wrote in a previous post, it's a musical doubleheader at the St. Louis Symphony this weekend: the regular series concerts on Friday and Sunday with Leonard Slatkin, the orchestra, and violin soloists Celeste Golden Boyer and David Halen; and the annual "Red Velvet Ball" fundraiser concert on Saturday night with David Robertson conducting and international celebrity pianist Lang Lang in the solo spot. Here's a preview of the latter.
When guest conductor Bernard Labadie takes the podium this weekend, he'll be leading a noticeably downsized St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. But never fear; nobody has been sacked. It's just that he's conducting a program of music written between 1763 and 1792, back when both orchestras and the halls in which they played were substantially smaller than they are now.
It has been a heavy month or so for the St. Louis Symphony Chorus. On November 16th they performed Britten 's dramatic Peter Grimes at Powell, followed by a repeat performance at Carnegie Hall on November 22nd, Britten 's centenary. At the same time they were rehearsing the first three cantatas of Bach 's 1734-35 Christmas Oratorio for concerts this Friday and Saturday (December 6 and 7) with David Robertson and the orchestra.