|SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL (seenandheard-international.com, England) and VANCLASSICAL MUSIC (vanclassicalmusic.com, Vancouver, BC) • May 5, 2016
"Adventurous Bach Arrangements from Jeffrey Cohan and the Salish Sea Festival"
CANADA - J.S. Bach: Jeffrey Cohan (baroque flute), Ingrid Matthews
(baroque violin), Hans-Jürgen Schnoor (harpsichord), Ryerson United
Church, Vancouver (April 17, 2016)
me back to Bach’s days immediately was Cohan’s art (and indeed, zeal)
in transcribing and rearranging compositions to suit whatever
instruments happened to be present. ...I found these experiments
stimulating, somehow giving a glimpse into the diversity of styles that
might have been present in the renderings of Bach’s day. This was not
the type of ‘ultra-considered’ Bach that one often associates with the
authentic tradition nowadays. While sometimes finding a quiet
peacefulness, this was playing with an expressive ardour and passion,
not least because harpsichordist Hans-Jürgen Schnoor has a distinctly
rhapsodic style, mixing ample rubato with a colourful virtuosity. I
have seldom seen a more fleet-fingered, passionate performance of the
short Chromatic Fantasia (BWV 903) than Schnoor gave between the two
sonatas. Violinist Ingrid Matthews is very accurate stylistically, and
often brings an uncommon expressive life to her phrases. Jeffrey Cohan
is in some ways the most objective of the trio, guiding the music with
true sensibility and taste.
In this form, [the Sonata BWV 1027/1039] almost feels like a miniature
Brandenburg Concerto. In the first two movements, Cohan brought the
ensemble to a lovely peace and flow, and a distinguished structural
poise. Ingrid Matthews in turn brought both feeling and commitment to
the Vivaldian Adagio and unbridled flair to the closing Presto. This
violin adaptation was a genuine success, and some of the writing for
this part actually took me closer to Bach’s famous concertos for the
instrument than his sonatas. The impetuosity of some of Schnoor’s
continuo playing was distinctive.
The major work of the evening was the Musical Offering, and there are
many instrumental variants to pick from here. I believe this was the
first time that I have heard the glorious ‘royal theme’ initiated on
the flute, but with only three instruments involved a core role was
naturally assigned to the harpsichord. Again, it took a while to get
used to Schnoor’s rhapsodic style and sheer speed ...Nonetheless, I
eventually understood that the harpsichordist’s objective was to move
the work through ‘blocks’ of colour and, from this perspective, I could
see its innovation. The Trio Sonatas were the highlight, with real
depth of expression. There was colour too: a sinewy, rustic fabric from
the violin and harpsichord that played off splendidly against the
refinement of Cohan’s flute. Ingrid Matthews absolutely excelled in
bringing out the restrained, bittersweet feelings involved and often
found a raw haunting beauty.
I found this performance moving. There is something remarkably ‘true’
that flows from Jeffrey Cohan and the Salish Sea.”
— Geoffrey Newman • http://www.vanclassicalmusic.com/ and http://seenandheard-international.com/2016/05/adventurous-bach-arrangements-from-jeffrey-cohan-and-the-salish-sea-festival/
THE SUN BREAK (thesunbreak.com, Seattle) • April 25, 2016
"Bach’s ‘Musical Offering’ Given by Salish Sea Early Music Festival"
always a delight to hear musicians as steeped as these three in Baroque
performance practice, all consummate performers in Bach’s intricate
tapestries of interweaving lines, canons, and musical embroidery."
— Philippa Kiraly • http://thesunbreak.com/2016/04/25/bachs-musical-offering-given-by-salish-sea-early-music-festival/
REVIEW VANCOUVER (reviewvancouver.org, Vancouver, BC) • April 5, 2016
"Salish Sea Early Music Festival: Late 18th-Century: Clavichord & Flute"
explored a sweeping micro-range of effect and colour while Cohan’s
flute flew around, always sensitive to the delicate gestures of the
keyboard and exhibiting a vivid sense of exploration and enthusiasm.
charm, superb technique and warm expressivity characterized the
playing. Lebedinsky’s lively realizations of the figured bass parts
were captivating and fully in metaphorical as well as literal harmony
with the flute."
Overall, this program brought to life unfamiliar music or music by
unfamiliar composers with daring and intelligent playing, infused with
variety, emotion and beauty."
— Elizabeth Paterson • http://reviewvancouver.org/co_salish_sea_clavichord_flute.htm
REVIEW VANCOUVER (reviewvancouver.org, Vancouver, BC) • June 2015
"Philidor's The Art of Modulation"
baroque flute, Linda Melsted, violin, Stephen Creswell, viola, Jonathan
"A lively and challenging programme ... immediately conjuring up the
shining, quirky music of the baroque. ...elegant, thoughtful
conversation between the instruments ... intellectually gripping and as
full of nerve-tingling modulations. ... The opening Allegro [Blavet] is
rapid, full of leaps, double tonguings, long phrases and ornaments
which Cohan negotiated with stylish brio ... a widely expressive
technique full of nuance and subtlety. ... A stylish and very engaging
ensemble. Their playing is impeccable in its ornamentation and
articulation and sensitive to the emotional core of the music ... but
beyond that they play with great verve and obvious delight in the
— Elizabeth Paterson • http://reviewvancouver.org/co_salish_sea_modulation.htm
VANCOUVER CLASSICAL MUSIC
(vanclassicalmusic.com, Vancouver BC) • January 2015
"A Lovely Baroque Divertissement from Brotherton, Cohan and Stubbs"
intimate and refreshing experience. • There was joy and love aplenty
here, quite irresistible in its sense of innocence and spontaneity. •
...let me acknowledge, first off, just how well the underpinning of
Cohan and Stubbs brought out the variety and motion of this work. •
Jeffrey Cohan has such quickness and dynamic range, such a keen control
of accents, and such mastery at floating the soft limpid phrase that
the combination with Stephen Stubbs’ own brand of structural solidity
and insight gave us something pretty special indeed."
Newman, VANCOUVER CLASSICAL MUSIC •
MUSIC IN VICTORIA (islandnet.com/miv, Victoria BC) • February 2014
"Emanuel Bach Tricentennial"
was one of those filthy late winter evenings when blasts of icy rain
make it almost unthinkable to head outside, but, for the slightly
smaller than usual audience who had braved the elements, the reward was
as dreamily exquisite as an invitation from Oberon, delivered by Puck
himself to enter a world of tender and brilliant magic.
would be hard to imagine two musicians better suited to convey the
double aspect of the keyboard performer/composer who, in his own
estimation "thought too much", and undoubtedly embodied too much
feeling according to the naysayers of his day. ...We were lucky indeed
in Victoria to be treated to such an evocation of C.P. Emanuel Bach's
early mastery and promise of things to come by two of his countrymen
who met in Germany on a bicycle trip over 30 years ago, deeply
influencing each other musically, and performing together at least once
very couple of years ever since. On this occasion with the
Seattle-based string ensemble, Nouvelle Simphonie, about whom, more
is not the first time I have attended a concert in which the programme
was shared between works by both JS and CPE Bach, nor the first time I
have found myself enjoying the work of the son just as much, if not
occasionally more, than the father. It is the first time though that I
have had an inkling of why that should be. Emanuel Bach shared the
prodigious keyboard talent of his father - he could sight read any of
his keyboard works by the time he was ten. But where his father's
analytical brilliance lay in his ability to exploit the infinite
structural possibilities of tone and scale in his well-tempered
instruments and the mathematical delights of contrapuntal harmony,
Emanuel, also a brilliant improviser, was equally drawn to music's
power to express with intricate detail and great subtlety a depth of
feeling that had suffered an eclipse since dawn of the era of mind
enlightened by reason. Like Goethe and many other writers, artists and
composers, he was to usher in a reasserted value for sensitivity,
emfindsamkeit. The two concerti on Saturday night's programme were
composed early in his career, in the years of the births of his first
two children, leading me to suspect that the tender joy expressed in
them has something to do with he himself becoming a father: Johann
Adam, named to honour his grandfather, and Anna Carolina Philippa to
honour her grandmother and CP himself.
concert opened with JS Bach's Suite in B-minor for flute and strings
with harpsichord and cello continuo. From the stately and elegant
ouverture through a collection of dance forms to the concluding
badinerie, Schnoor's light and effortlessly agile touch and bubbling
cadences formed a perfect backdrop to Cohan's swaying dance between the
strings, his tone seamlessly married to the violins, the softness of
his flute emerging in and out of a tapestry of sound in a kind of
humorous hide-and-seek. A music so refined, it draws and draws, yet
never swamps the senses.
first of CPE's works, the Harpsichord Concerto in D Minor opened with a
furious flurry from the strings before giving way to an exquisitely
compelling florescence of sound in the silvery bell tones of the
harpsichord, an instrument from Northern Germany with a much softer
tone than the crisper, brighter ones favoured in the south, and perhaps
more familiar to us. The enormous presence of Mr. Schnoor as he covered
the entire instrument with his solo statement, creating a universe of
sound, was immediately apparent. In the second movement, un poco
andante, the angelic voice of the harpsichord like a promise answering
the longing of the viola and violins with an almost unbearable
sweetness. The third allegro movement concluding with a sense of joyful
anticipation, the spotlight shifting between the harpsichord and the
strings with the startling clarity of a pointillist painting.
the intermission the musicians returned for the second of Emanuel
Bach's works, the Concerto for Flute in D MInor. Here the robust
quality of the strings in relation to the flute evoked an image of the
stoutly protective bud enclosing, and opening to reveal the soft drape
of rose or poppy petals. Visually, the tableau including the Puckish
dancing of Cohan and the rapt attention as if every note were a longed
for gift, of the violist, Steve Creswell only added to the sense of
transport offered by the music. The third allegro offered a rhapsodic
ode to the joy of flight in an upwelling of apparently unbreathed sound
to an outpouring of applause from the audience.
Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 brought the programme to a close, Cohan's
flute flitting here and there like a light in the trees, spume above
surges from the violins, while in his opening solo, Schnoor's
heightening intensity of pure invention compelled every hair follicle
of attention. In the Afetuoso section the violins cut arcs of
beautifully mellow sound, while the flute filled cups of ambrosia
before developing a more sonorous tone to match the richer, fuller
strings. For the final allegro on a rich tapestry of tones and lively
dancing, the flute was sometimes a presence, a nuance, a quality, a
colour, hiding then emerging to a sublimely confident finish, utterly
and quietly assured.
audience was extremely appreciative, yet such was the virtuosity and
technical brilliance of Hans Jürgen Schnoor and Jeffrey Cohan, combined
with a spell-binding understatement, I couldn't be quite sure I hadn't
dreamed it all."
— Elizabeth Courtney • http://islandnet.com/miv/reviews/r2014-02-22-ec.html
Early Music Festival evolved from Concert Spirituel, which since the
early 1980s in Seattle and Chicago has featured harpsichordists
Elisabeth Wright, George Shangrow, David Schrader and John Whitelaw
(Belgium), violinists Stanley Ritchie and Jorg Michael Schwarz,
lutenists Stephen Stubbs and John Schneiderman, gambists Susan Napper,
Mary Springfels and cellist Elaine Scott Banks. Unpublished works
from the Library of Congress and other libraries and unusual
instruments and instrumental combinations that were familiar in earlier
times are given particular attention. From 1725 until 1790, the Concert
Spirituel in Paris offered outstanding sacred, orchestral and chamber
music performances presented by the leading instrumentalists and
composers of Europe, featuring the most innovative new music of
the day. In this spirit we are excited to present the sixth annual
Salish Sea Early Music Festival.
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