by Daniel Hathaway
Patrons of Apollo’s Fire and the Baldwin Wallace Bach Festival will have the rare experience this weekend of hearing J.S. Bach’s great B-Minor Mass performed locally for the first time on period instruments. Among those will be three natural trumpets and a single natural horn — both played without valves. The distinguished performers will include trumpeter Steven Marquardt and hornist Todd Williams.
Marquardt and his colleagues Perry Sutton and Stanley Curtis will be doing a lot of trumpeting during the Mass. “The Bach is really quite demanding. We play in eleven of the 27 movements, compared to only five in Handel’s Messiah — and two of those are back to back, so it’s more like four,” he said in a telephone conversation.
Williams, on the other hand, will be making a true cameo appearance, playing only in the “Quoniam” of the “Gloria,” an unusual bass aria supported by solo horn and a pair of bassoons. “The ‘Quoniam’ is not as stratospheric as the trumpet parts, though it has its own challenges,” he said in a separate conversation. “You sit there for 45 minutes, then you have to play a very difficult and quite famous solo. It’s sort of a wild movement, with a mood change that’s a bit shocking after what came just before. [Read more…]