Exploring Repertoire with Boulder Bach’s CORE

Familiar and unfamiliar composers on May 13 concert

By Peter Alexander May 11 at 3:37 p.m.

Boulder Bach Festival’s COmpass REsonance Ensemble, known as CORE, will perform both instrumental and vocal music of the Baroque era for their season-ending concert, at 4 p.m. Saturday in Boulder’s First Congregational Church (May 13; details and ticket access below).

Zachary Carrettin (l) with Boulder Bach CORE Ensemble

The CORE performers will be joined Boulder Bach Festival music director Zachary Carrettin on violin and flutist Ysmael Reyes, principal flute of the Cheyenne Symphony and a faculty member at Regis University. A product of the Venezuelan youth orchestra system, he has performed both the modern flute and Baroque flute throughout the country.

Moghul Emperor Akbar,
by Govardhan

A major work on the program, and one source of the program’s title will be J.S. Bach’s Cantata No. 203, Amore traditore (Treacherous love). One of only two cantatas that Bach wrote in Italian, Amore traditore was composed in 1718–19 for an unknown occasion, when the composer was at the court of Leopold, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen. 

Vocal soloist Adam Ewing will be featured in this cantata for solo bass and continuo. It follows the typical three-movement form of the 18th-century Italian solo cantata of aria-recitative-aria, and its overheated text about love, betrayal and suffering is equally typical of the genre.

Carrettin will be featured playing Il grosso mogul (The great mogul), a Violin Concerto in D major by Vivaldi. Its virtuosity makes the concerto a peak to be conquered by violinists, but it should not be confused with the Grand Mogul, a mountain peak in Idaho that is a favorite destination for climbers. Nor is it same as the flute concerto by Vivaldi titled Il gran mogul, nor the opera libretto of the same title.

The title refers to the 16th-century Mughal Emperor Akbar, who expanded the Mughal Empire into India and became the subject of folk tales and flattering legends. The concerto has energetic opening and closing movements that frame an unusual slow movement marked Recitativo grave that has a mysterious and mediative quality unlike most Vivaldi slow movements. Carrettin’s performance of music by the Venetian Vivaldi reflects his own Venetian heritage.

Flutist Ysmael Reyes

Paul Miller will perform two works for viola d’amore by Attilio Ariosti. The least known composer on the program, Ariosti preceded C.P.E. Bach at the Prussian court, serving there 1697–1703. A prolific composer, he wrote more than 30 operas and oratorios as well as instrumental works.

Ariosti could play cello and keyboards, but especially the viola d’amore, a type of viol that had seven or eight bowed strings as well as sympathetic strings that ran under the fingerboard. The name (“viola of love”) may come from the fact that the sympathetic strings gave instrument a gentle and sweet sound. 

The program concludes with Reyes’s performance of C.P.E. Bach’s Flute Concerto in G major. The concerto is an arrangement by the composer from an earlier concerto for organ or harpsichord, which contributes to some of the difficulties for the flutist. Bach’s leading flute concerto, it was written in 1755, during his last year as court harpsichordist to the flute-playing Frederick the Great of Prussia. It is an example of Bach’s empfindsamer Stil (sensitive style), characterized by the expression of suddenly changing and deeply emotional moods.

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“Il Grande Amore” (The great love)
Boulder Bach Festival CORE Ensemble
With Ysmael Reyes, flute, Zachary Carrettin, violin, Adam Ewing, bass, and Paul Miller, viola d’amore

  • Attilio Ariosti: Sonata for viola d’amore and basso continuo
  • J.S. Bach: Amore Traditore, S203
  • Vivaldi: Concerto “Il grosso mogul” for violin, strings & basso continuo
  • Ariosti: Sonata for viola d’amore and basso continuo
  • C.P.E. Bach: Concerto for flute, strings and basso continuo in G major

4 p.m. Saturday, May 13
First Congregational Church, 1128 Pine St., Boulder