In popular culture, famous characters often display two sides of the same person.
Dr. Jekyl has his Mr. Hyde; Bruce Banner turns into the Incredible Hulk, and Walter White dons his porkpie hat when he morphs into Heisenberg. But one of music’s greatest composers also had a duality about him that few people know about.
“J.S. Bach, along with Vivaldi, is by far the most famous baroque composer. Most people know his name, but very few people know the multiple faces he had,” said Maarten Bout, executive director of the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra. “Maybe you know Bach only from his church music. He was a very pious man, but he had a real human side to him too.”
Story continues below gallery
That balance between secular and sacred music will be the focus of a free concert by the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra. The orchestra will play a concerto of sacred music, a concerto of secular and a handful of other selections, being joined along the way with soprano Julianne Baird and violin virtuoso Augusta McKay Lodge.
The concert, at 7:30 p.m. April 22 in Richardson Chapel on the Franklin College campus, is made possible by the Franklin Symphonic Council.
In advance of the concert, Bout explained what people can expect.
What is the focus of the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra?
Our official mission is to enrich and educate the Indiana community with concerts of 17th and 18th century music. Even though that seems very specific, what it really comes down to is presenting beautiful concerts.
Why is baroque music an important art form to introduce people to?
It’s one of these types of music that people know, but they don’t know that they know it. There are a couple of things that people have heard in movies or on television. It’s very recognizable and important to us to bring it to communities that don’t have the resources themselves to hear it. We want to share it among our neighbors.
What is the focus of this program?
This program will basically be an overview of Bach as a composer. Not just focusing on his secular music, not just focusing on his church music but really giving you an overview of the breadth of him as a composer. Each one of these pieces in their own rights is inspiring to a lot of other composers.
Why create a concert with that premise?
I think people will really enjoy that moment of seeing the whole personality. It’s not just focusing on one aspect, but it’s a holistic view of the composer.
What do Julianne Baird and Augusta McKay Lodge bring to this program?
Julianne is a distinguished professor at Rutgers (University) and is one of the experts in baroque music in the country. Augusta is the winner of the Indy Baroque Orchestra’s Baroque Concerto Competition. She really hit it out of the park in this competition. She is very quickly becoming a leading soloist in her field, and we’re so excited to contribute to her development.
What can people expect from this performance?
A baroque orchestra is a little different from a symphony orchestra. We have 20 to 22 people on stage, and we tune to a pitch called “period pitch.” Our instruments are from the baroque period. Some are actually 400 years old, some are replicas of instruments from 400 years ago. It’s something completely different from what people are used to.
— Compiled by Ryan Trares