Next month Richard Egarr, Music Director of the Academy of Ancient Music since 2006, will return to serve as both conductor and harpsichordist with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, as he did during his last visit in January of 2012. On that occasion he prepared a program surveying the English Baroque repertoire over the period between 1635 and 1749. Beyond joking about George Frideric Handel being the most British composer of this period, he presented lively and personable accounts of all the selections, all led from behind a harpsichord keyboard.
For this season’s return visit, Egarr will shift his attention from England to the Germany of Johann Sebastian Bach. More specifically, he will lead the ensemble in four of the six concertos that Bach composed as a gift for the Royal Margrave of Brandenburg, known today as the “Brandenburg” concertos. Bach used these pieces to show off his ability to provide inventive solo work for a wide variety of instrumental combinations, and Egarr’s selections were clearly made to present his audience with that variety.
The program will begin with the first of these concertos, BWV 1046 in F major, which serves of the most diverse collection on instruments in a single concerto. They include two horns, three oboes, and a violino piccolo sounding a major sixth higher than the violins in the ensemble. This will be followed by the BWV 1048 (third) concerto in G major with separate parts for three violins, three violas, and three cellos, performed most effectively with a soloist on each part. Following the intermission, Egarr will double as harpsichord soloist in a performance of the BWV 1050 (fifth) concerto in D major. The other solo parts for this concerto are taken by flute and violin. BWV 1050 is the only concerto in the set with a solo harpsichord part, although the harpsichord usually provides continuo for the other concertos. The evening will conclude with a performance of BWV 1049 in G major, the fourth concerto in the set with solo parts for two flutes and violin.
The San Francisco performance of this concert will take place at Herbst Theatre (401 Van Ness Avenue on the southwest corner of McAllister Street) at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 12. Ticket prices are $25, $49, $71, $92, and $105. There is an event page for this concert on the Philharmonia Baroque Web site, as well as a Web page for purchasing tickets from City Box Office. City Box Office may also be reached by telephone at 415-392-4400. Readers should also recall that Egarr will also be previewing this concert as part of the next installment in the PBO SESSIONS series, which will take place at the ODC Theater on the preceding Monday, November 9.