Almost 300 years ago one of the greatest composers of all time created some music that he hoped would keep him employed.
Johann Sebastian Bach wrote “Six Concertos for Several Instruments” as a plea to the Margrave of Brandenburg, Christian Ludwig, to keep his job at the military governor’s court in Berlin, Germany.
The concertos became known as the “Brandenburg Concertos” and after sitting unheard by Ludwig or anyone else in a private library, they eventually came into the collection of the Royal Library in Berlin.
They were brought to light during the 19th century “Bach Revival,” published in 1850 – about
130 years after Bach wrote them – and have since then come to be recognized as the supreme examples of baroque instrumental music.
Islanders will have two chances to hear Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No. 5,” among other baroque classics.
The Saratoga Chamber Orchestra will present an evening of baroque period music in the final concerts of its inaugural season at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 17 at the South Whidbey High School Auditorium and again at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 18, at the Coupeville Middle School Performing Arts Center.
In addition to the concerto, the program will feature “Music for the Royal Fireworks” by George Frederic Handel, “Symphony No. 5” by English composer William Boyce and Bach’s “Orchestral Suite No. 3.”
Legh W. Burns conducts. Featured soloists on the program are Rae Terpenning, flute, Susan Baer, violin and Judith Burns, harpsichord.
The concert is dedicated to the memory of Michael Nutt, a founder and leader of the Saratoga Chamber Players, out of which the present day the Chamber Orchestra grew.
“Without the vision and musicianship of Michael Nutt, the Saratoga Chamber Orchestra would not exist,” Burns said.
“His influence on the arts on Whidbey Island, especially the performing arts, is beyond measure. He will always be regarded as the patron saint of the orchestra.”
The Saratoga Chamber Orchestra began its initial season in October with a salute to Igor Stravinsky.
In December, they performed a “Winter Celebration” concert at the Whidbey Institute and in March, accompanied three young soloists in the second annual Young Artists Solo Competition Concert.
Burns said that next season will hold some surprises and will again feature members of the orchestra as soloists.
Their repertoire will be expanded to include music of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, as well as a performance of the seldom heard “Concerto for Flute and Harp” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Burns is confident that the musicians available to him are more than enough to fill the bill.
“There are some extraordinary musicians on the island,” Burns said. “This area is a virtual treasure trove of talent, from Clinton to Oak Harbor and every town in between.”Burns said that he is dedicated to the idea that the Saratoga Chamber Orchestra belongs to the entire island.
“By adding performances in Coupeville, we’re making available some of the masterworks of music to an increasing portion of Whidbey Island.”
Programs for the final season performances will list the repertoire and soloists or the 2008-09 season, as well as information about the purchase of season tickets.
Tickets for the concert cost $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and $15 for students and may be purchased at Joe’s Island Music in Langley and Bay Leaf, in Coupeville.
Tickets may also be purchased at the door on the day of the concert.
For information, contact orchestra manager Margot Jerome at www.orchestra.com.