Johann Sebastian Bach Music for Oboe & Piano
Since the summer of 2006, husband and wife musicians Joel Bard, oboe, and Sayuri Miyamoto, piano, and some friends have been presenting chamber music concerts to raise money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. More recently, they've been recording a companion CD each year with all proceeds going to the same cause. For 2008 both the concert and the CD featured the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. The three works presented here are among Bach's most beautiful and intimate. The C major sonata was originally written for flute but is played here on the oboe as it fits the range of the instrument very nicely. The character of this piece is very upbeat. The slow first movement suddenly turns into a light-hearted virtuoso display that leads directly into a downright chipper moto perpetuo second movement. Even the slow third movement in A minor makes it's way to C major very quickly before the sonata concludes with a pair of lively minuets. The C minor keyboard partita numbers among Bach's greatest works for solo keyboard. The opening Sinfonia is reminiscent of the overtures in the orchestral suites. The following dance movements, as always in Bach, transcend the courtly dance styles they're based upon. The pensive Sarabande is particularly sublime. This performance features Sayuri's own ornamentation in the repeats in this movement. The G minor sonata is a transposition of the flute sonata in B minor. In this case there exists a manuscript of the keyboard part in G minor with some circumstantial evidence that it predates the B minor version with flute. There is no proof that the instrumental part in the G minor version was intended for oboe but it seems like a reasonable choice. At least it serves as a good excuse for oboists to sink their teeth into this masterpiece. The first movement is one of the longest and most penetrating that Bach wrote for a solo instrument with keyboard. It is followed by a slow second movement with a melody that is certainly among the most beautiful ever written. The last movement begins with a wild contrapuntal dash that abruptly comes to a halt after which the meter changes and the piece finishes with a somewhat demonic gigue-like dance. About the performers: Sayuri and Joel are both active members of the musical community in Boston. Sayuri teaches piano and accompanies many local musicians, working often with the very talented students in the area. She studied with Donald Currier as an undergraduate at Yale and then attended Juilliard where she studied with Nadia Reisenberg and Gyorgy Sandor. She subsequently received her doctorate from the Manhattan School of Music studying with Seymour Lipkin Joel is conductor of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras Repertory Orchestra. He studied oboe with John Mack as an undergraduate at the Cleveland Institute of Music and then studied oboe and conducting at Juilliard. Joel also earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Harvard and is active as an x-ray crystallographer studying drug-receptor interactions. Joel is an avid bicyclist and supports Dana Farber, where he was successfully treated for Hodgkins Lymphoma, by riding each year in the Pan-Mass Challenge.