The Academy Of Ancient Music Plays J.S. Bach at Carnegie Hall Stream a live Carnegie Hall concert of Bach's four orchestral suites, played by the superb Academy of Ancient Music, led by Richard Egarr.

The Academy of Ancient Music, with its director Richar Egarr at the harpsichord, brings Bach to Carnegie Hall in a concert featuring the composer's four Orchestral Suites on Nov. 7. A.J. Wilhelm/for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
A.J. Wilhelm/for NPR

Carnegie Hall Live

The Academy Of Ancient Music Plays J.S. Bach at Carnegie HallWQXR radio

The Academy Of Ancient Music Plays J.S. Bach at Carnegie Hall

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/347087214/362373382" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The Sept. 24 death of prominent conductor and musicologist Christopher Hogwood came just as the orchestra he founded in 1973, the Academy of Ancient Music, was set to take on some of his signature pieces: the Orchestral Suites Nos. 1-4 by J. S. Bach. Along with a new recording of the suites, the British ensemble is bringing them on the road. A North American tour includes a stop at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall that NPR Music and WQXR will broadcast.

Led by Hogwood's successor, harpsichordist Richard Egarr, the Academy of Ancient Music (AAM) seems bent on refreshing these popular works. The rap on them is familiar — well-constructed, good for business, but lacking some of the the gravity and grandeur of Bach's church works and fugal masterpieces.

Even so, the four pieces — amalgams of French, Italian and German styles — display some of the fascinating ways Bach would approach the festive side of music-making. The suites usually begin with an overture, followed by a collection of dances. Suite No. 2 is a display vehicle for the transverse flute — a hot property in the 1730s — while the Third Suite contains the famous "Air on the G String," often used in weddings and TV commercials. Suites Nos. 1 and 4, all grace and influence, show the influence of French style.

In performance, AAM follows a practice established by Hogwood in the 1980s, presenting only one string instrument to a part, so there are often more trumpeters than violinists. AAM arrives at Carnegie Hall after having played the suites in Paris and Montreal (the group tours constantly, in addition to holding residencies at the Barbican in London and the University of Cambridge). The hometown critics have expressed their approval of the Orchestral Suites recording. "The rewards are glorious," writes Stephen Pritchard in The Observer, "with Egarr at the harpsichord driving the delightfully clean and springy rhythms, every detail sharply defined, each separate timbre there for us to enjoy."

PROGRAM

J.S. BACH:

• Orchestral Suite No. 4 in D Major
• Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B Minor
• Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C Major
• Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major

Academy of Ancient Music
Richard Egarr, conductor and harpsichord

[+] read more[-] less

More From Classical

Gurtman and Murtha Artist Management

Ruth Laredo On Piano Jazz

Hear "America's First Lady of the Piano" explore the boundaries between classical music and jazz with host Marian McPartland in this 2004 episode.

Ruth Laredo On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/562620476/562624249" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Dancers in "Stalactites," a video by Mark DeChiazza, based on Orpheus Unsung, a theater work composed by Steven Mackey, with Jason Treuting. Mark DeChiazza hide caption

toggle caption Mark DeChiazza

Orpheus Reborn With Dancers, Drums And Electric Guitar

A new video, featuring a score by Steven Mackey with Jason Treuting, retells the ancient tale of love, loss and the power of music.

Penguin Cafe performs a Tiny Desk Concert on May 2, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Penguin Cafe

Penguin Cafe folds in sounds from around the world and throughout music history — Africa, Kraftwerk, Brazil and Franz Schubert.

Composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir revised her piece Aura especially for The Los Angeles Percussion Quartet. David Holechek hide caption

toggle caption David Holechek

Anna Thorvaldsdottir's Volcanic Transmissions

As members of the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet bow their vibraphones, brush their gongs and message their bass drums, the composer's evocative music oozes from blackness.

Ludovico Einaudi, performing live for KCRW. Larry Hirshowitz/KCRW hide caption

toggle caption Larry Hirshowitz/KCRW

Ludovico Einaudi, 'Petricor' (Live)

KCRW

Watch the pianist and composer, joined by a full band, in a stunning live performance for KCRW.

Opera singer Joyce DiDonato created this video to go with her new album, In War and Peace: Harmony through Music. Warner Classics hide caption

toggle caption Warner Classics

In Chaotic Times, A Singer's Plea For Freedom

Opera star Joyce DiDonato does more than sing — she lends her voice to social causes. Watch her new video, a haunting depiction of a woman trapped in conflict.

Back To Top