Guillaume Tardif and Guests Perform CPE Bach in Online Concert

Professor Guillaume Tardif has produced an online concert featuring sonatas by CPE Bach.

Department of Music - 26 July 2023

Toward the end of the pandemic, Professor Guillaume Tardif was joined by acclaimed musicians Anders MuskensViktoria Grynenko and Conrad Sobieraj in a series of live performances of CPE Bach sonatas. The resulting online concert is now available for viewing.

"This project of recording CPE Bach sonatas was in part to explore this repertoire and this composer after I had produced similar videos featuring the solo violin music of JS Bach, CPE's father. One of the three prominent sons of JS Bach (JC and WF are the others), CPE had an enviable career, notably at the court in Berlin, where he was a prolific composer in the emerging 'sensitive style'. He is often regarded as the father of 'classical music' or 'First Viennese school' as we usually term stylistic periods - Mozart himself apparently said that 'we are all the sons of CPE Bach'. The project was also to test the capacity of the nice harpsichord that resides in the upper back corner at Con Hall (my favorite area of Con Hall), which required the attentive care of our expert keyboard technician, Calvin Wong. This performance was done at a lower tuning, and I created the part from the score. I am grateful to Russ Baker and Pat Strain for the audio and video captures, which I could then animate for the final product."

"First, the violin-keyboard sonata with Anders Muskens: 

About Anders: I have known Anders Muskens since he was a student in Engineering as he was taking chamber music (I was coaching his group at the time). It did not take long to realize that Anders was very gifted with music. We happen to also share many topics of interest. After working on lasers for Engineering, he now is fully engaged in music, and has become an eloquent expert in early music on early keyboards. He studied with other experts in The Hague and now in Tübingen, Germany. He has been very entrepreneurial and successful as a musician, receiving numerous awards and scholarships, creating and leading a 'period' orchestra with which he produced operas and recordings, and performing various concerts at high-profile venues, for television, and online. We arranged to record during the last few days of his visit home (Christmas 2021). I later invited him to appear as a soloist with the Tartini Symposium (October 2022), where he presented a concerto by CPE Bach and some of his fascinating research into the rhetorics of classical theater and classical music."

"As for the second component, the trio sonatas, they were filmed on one nice summer day. I had worked with my former student Viktoria Grynenko (DMus, UofA) on violin duets for the Tartini Symposium, and I suggested completing the CPE program with duets by CPE Bach. Those, however, are duets with continuo (cello and harpsichord), or trio sonatas, so I was glad to also invite for this project the gifted local musicians, Conrad Sobieraj (BMus, UofA) and Kathy Tilbury. We chose two contrasting works, a lovely Italianate one in G major, and an unorthodox, theatrical work with a compelling title (i.e., 'the Dialogue of Happiness and Melancholy'), set in a flat key. The latter in his time was experimental, in the manner of a cantata but without words, with an extended description of the events taking place by the composer. That performance was done at the usual, modern pitch level."

"Following the recordings, I worked with the possibilities of a dynamic camera in post-production, to outline the lines and layers of the music, the overall form and the details of gesture or dialogue (at times, more vividly in the more theatrical piece). This takes some time to realize, but I believe it is well worth it." (GT)