Zeroing in on the distinct sound and quintessential playing style of a bygone era, the Baroque Ensemble strives to educate its members and provide audiences with a sense of appreciation for this everlasting musical tradition. Acclaimed Baroque violinist Michael Sand and harpsichord extraordinaire Phebe Craig are co-directors, and rehearsals are held Wednesdays from 7:10–9:00 pm in Room 108, Music Building.
Early Music and Baroque Ensembles of UC Davis with guests—
Glenda Bates and Lot Demeyer, oboe Thomas Hill, bassoon | Farley Pearce, violone
Although originally performed in a church setting during Easter celebrations, Bach’s Passions are almost operatic in nature. The Easter story is dramatically presented using the Gospel of St. John (rather than, say, Matthew), by featuring a chorus (which play the role of the crowd, soldiers, or disciples), as well as singers that play the roles of Evangelist (narrator), Jesus, Peter, a maid and servant.
It is the Passions of J. S. Bach—not the Toccata in D Minor or Brandenburg Concertos—that were vital to bringing Bach to modern audiences. Had Mendelssohn not performed in the St. Matthew Passion in 1829, it is possible Bach would not be a household name as it is today. Both the St. John and St. Matthew Passions are exemplary of Bach’s best work, from stunning chorales to virtuosic instrumental work.
Sand plays with the chamber ensemble Musical Assembly, is director of the New York State Baroque, and appears with many Bay Area early music groups. He has recorded for Meridian, Harmonia Mundi (France and the U.S.), Arts and Music, KATastroPHE, Wildboar, and Titanic.