March 10, 2024
Inspired by Bach
New music for harpsichord and strings, including works by Damien Geter and Caroline Shaw inspired by the J.S. Bach harpsichord concertos. This program also includes the world premiere of Damien Geter’s Groove Etude in Rondo for viola and harpsichord, commissioned by Byron Schenkman & Friends for Sound Salon.
“If I had but one word to sum up composer, Damien Geter…. I’ll go with ‘major.'”
— The Washington Post
Rachell Ellen Wong
Carmen Lavada Johnson-Pájaro
“Buh-roke” for strings and harpsichord
World Premiere of “Groove Etude in Rondo Form” for viola and harpsichord
A Byron Schenkman & Friends commissioned work for Sound Salon
“Archimedes’ Principle” for violin and harpsichord
Concerto for harpsichord and strings
A Byron Schenkman & Friends commissioned work
“For her new concerto, Shaw says she used the ‘familiar grammar’ of Bach’s period but ‘twisted it into other things to construct a wild, weird, surrealist story — an alternative reality that didn’t happen but that might have existed.'”
– Thomas May, The Seattle Times
Notes on the Program
By Byron Schenkman
This program features four new works for harpsichord and strings by three of my favorite composers of our time.
Damien Geter infuses his works in classical forms with elements of music from the Black diaspora. According to the composer, Buh-roke for strings and harpsichord was inspired by Bach harpsichord concertos and “pays tribute to Baroque techniques with a funky twist.” Groove Etude in Rondo Form for viola and harpsichord was commissioned by Byron Schenkman & Friends and receives its world premiere in this performance. Here Geter challenges the performers “to move from the precision of counting to that of feeling the groove.”
Jean Ahn’s Archimedes Principle for violin and harpsichord takes source material from a Korean pop song, A Thorn Tree by Duckyu Ha, and is inspired by its lyrics: “There’s so much of me inside of myself, there’s no place for you to rest.” Ahn writes that “the Archimedes Principle is what makes the ships float. Only when my inner self is emptied will I be able to rise up to the surface of the water.”
Caroline Shaw’s Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings was commissioned to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Byron Schenkman & Friends (now Sound Salon). Shaw has described this work as “a wild, weird, surrealist story” using the musical language of J.S. Bach and his contemporaries to construct an alternative reality.