BACH PROJECT

Oboe Studio Presents

An album of new double reed arrangements of Bach’s famous keyboard Partitas. These arrangements create a conversational woodwind dialogue between two oboes, English horn, and bassoon, capturing the essence of J.S. Bach’s Baroque taste and style in a new and iridescent light.

  • The artistry and beauty of the playing is of the highest order, as well as the outstanding arrangements.

  • My goodness, what an addition to our double reed world! The two oboes alternating notes? It's pure magic to my ears.

  • Oh wow, what a beautiful sound. This [arrangement] works so well. And you’re just absolutely singing.

  • This version brings out Bach’s genius musical ideas even better than the original version. It’s been a long time since I’ve listened to music with greater pleasure than with this album!

  • Your playing is truly beautiful, and the music is so wonderful in your arrangements.

  • What a wonderful performance and great adaptation! I love the variety of timbres that the winds provide over what a keyboard itself can offer. I’ve added this to my classical playlist.

  • BEAUTIFUL! Playing, arrangement-all great. A wonderful accomplishment and contribution to our repertoire.

Dr. Lydia Consilvio’s arrangements of Johann Sebastian Bach’s keyboard Partitas Nos. 1, 3, and 4 (BWV 825, 827, and 828) present a fresh expression of Bach’s keyboard suite, giving listeners a new way to hear and appreciate these delightful works. Drawing upon the Bach-Gesellschaft edition, Consilvio’s reimagination for two oboes, English horn, and bassoon stays true to the original keyboard score and thoughtfully contributes to the double reed repertoire.

These adaptations for small wind ensemble naturally create complementary and flexible dynamics that allow sonorities to emerge in a manner not possible on the harpsichord or piano—enhancing the phrasing and coloristic possibilities inherent in the music. Consilvio’s distribution of melodic material clearly highlights Bach’s use of voices (usually two or three within a single line) through a conversational woodwind dialogue.

Notably, Bach’s keyboard Partitas are comprised of movements based on Renaissance dance forms—allemande, courante, sarabande, menuet and gigue—each influenced by the step-pattern of that specific dance. These Renaissance dances were typically accompanied by families of like instruments in small ensembles called “consorts;” fittingly, the instrumentation of these arrangements captures both the original medium for the dance sets, and the Baroque taste and style of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) was the culminating figure of the Baroque period. The genius of Bach is demonstrated in his music’s artful complexity, formal and harmonic brilliance, and emotional depth. In 1726, when Bach was 41 years old, he had recently assumed the post as cantor and music director at the Church of St. Thomas in Leipzig, a position previously held by organist Johann Kuhnau. That same year, Bach wrote Partita No. 1 in B-flat Major, BWV 825, for the birthday of Emanuel Ludwig, the prince of Anhalt-Cothen. In 1731, Bach published the six partitas (BWV 825–⁠830) as a part of his comprehensive publication project, Clavier-Übung. Bach used the term “partita” to mean “suite,” or a collection of musical pieces, to describe his six partitas and their contents. Bach’s keyboard partitas—or suites—are comprised primarily of movements based on Renaissance dance forms, such as the allemande, courante, sarabande, minuet, and gigue. Each is influenced by the step pattern of that particular dance.

These arrangements of J.S. Bach’s Partitas Nos. 1, 3, and 4 were a major component of Lydia Consilvio’s dissertation project at the University of Maryland. While she was inspired by Chris Thile’s transcriptions of Bach for mandolin, the double reed instrumentation for Lydia’s arrangements is reflective of J.S. Bach’s own affinity for the sound of the double reed choir. In addition to being incredibly prolific in his utilization of the oboe in his cantatas, concerti, oratorios, and orchestral suites, Bach loved and used the color of the double reed choir in some of his most poignant music, such as the Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 and his St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244.

Transforming and reimagining these works from the original harpsichord version to double reed quartet allows the genius of Bach’s writing to be appreciated in a new way. The wind instruments can render phrases with dynamics and color that are not possible on the original harpsichord. Pitches that decay quickly on the keyboard can now be sustained and shaped, the resulting harmonies creating beautiful new sonorities. Additionally, Bach’s magnificent contrapuntal writing, which can be somewhat lost in the singular timbre of the keyboard, can now be divided among four instruments, allowing the distinct voices Bach writes (sometimes even within a single line) to be clearly heard and differentiated. These arrangements for double reed consort reveal a fresh and enhanced embodiment of these great works that add depth, shape, and color, communicating Bach’s intentions clearly, and presenting these great works in a new light.

Lydia Consilvio, oboe

Dr. Lydia Consilvio is an oboist, arranger, and music educator. She served as Visiting Lecturer of Music (Oboe) at the University of Oklahoma (2021–⁠2022) and taught masterclasses at Western Carolina University, the University of Northern Colorado, Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma City University, Festival Internacional de Música de Cámara Guatemala, and the University of Texas Arlington’s Double Reed Day as the Oboe Guest Artist. She has played with the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Chamber Orchestra, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, and headlined performances of Yo-Yo Ma and Esperanza Spalding in an outreach concert as oboist of hip-hop and classical music fusion band Classically Dope.

Dr. Consilvio recorded Hannah Lash’s Requiem on the Yale Choral Artists and Philharmonia Orchestra album Statements, and Leshnoff’s Violin Concerto No. 2 on Music by Jonathan Leshnoff with Oklahoma City Philharmonic, both produced by Naxos Records. Notably, part of her recording of Pasculli’s “Le Api” appeared on the “Telling the Bees” episode of the popular BBC Radio 3 broadcast series, Between the Ears.

Dr. Consilvio holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Oboe Performance from the University of Maryland, where she was a member of the Fellowship Wind Quintet. She received her Master of Music degree from Yale University and graduated as a Rogers Scholar with a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music, earning also an Arts Leadership Certificate.

Mark Hill, oboe

Mark Hill is Principal Oboe of the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Professor of Oboe at the University of Maryland. Over a 40-year career, he has performed and recorded with such groups as the New York Philharmonic, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the New York Chamber Symphony, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the Sylvan Winds. He has also appeared with such groups and organizations as the Guarneri and Mendelssohn String Quartets, the New York Woodwind Quintet, the Bach Aria Group, the Apple Hill Chamber Players, and the Aspen Wind Quintet. Mr. Hill’s recording of Copland’s Quiet City with the New York Chamber Symphony was nominated for a Grammy Award, and he has two solo recordings on Albany Records, Alchemy and Sad Steps. He has taught and performed at the Yellow Barn Festival in Vermont for over 20 years. Other teaching appointments have included Ithaca College, the Mannes College of Music, and Columbia University.

James Michael Homme, English Horn

Oboist Dr. Michael Homme has performed with the Harrisburg Symphony, Baltimore Chamber Players, National Philharmonic, York Symphony Orchestra, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, Maryland Symphony Orchestra, the Georgetown Chorale, and the Virginia Arts Festival as oboist of D.C.-based woodwind quintet District5. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan, and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Maryland, where he was the oboist in the graduate Fellowship Woodwind Quintet, Daraja Ensemble.

Joseph Grimmer, Bassoon

Joseph Grimmer is Principal Bassoon of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra/Washington National Opera Orchestra and Lecturer at the University of Maryland. He is also Principal Bassoon of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra. He previously served as Principal Bassoon with the Jacksonville Symphony, was a member of the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra, Acting Assistant Principal Bassoon of the Naples Philharmonic, spent six summers as Assistant Principal Bassoon with the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, and frequently performs with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

Grimmer is a faculty member of the Miami Music Festival, previously taught at the Shenandoah Conservatory, and has given masterclasses in Spain, Sweden, Canada, and throughout the USA. Grimmer earned his Master of Music degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where he studied with Benjamin Kamins. He also studied with William Winstead at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, where he earned his Bachelor of Music degree.

The musicians featured on this album made up the Terpsichore Double Reed Consort, formed at the University of Maryland (UMD) for Lydia's dissertation project.

Lydia's Oboe Professor at UMD, Mark Hill, played alongside Lydia from the earliest stages of developing the arrangements. UMD Bassoon Professor Joseph Grimmer played bassoon, and recent DMA graduate Michael Homme played English horn to form the full quartet.

This double reed ensemble performed Lydia's DMA degree recital in Ulrich Recital Hall at UMD on November 1, 2019. The consort also performed these arrangements at Maryland Meadworks for a foot-stomping good time, in an intimate living room setting for a Groupmuse concert, and at outreach events for the University of Maryland. The arrangements were extremely well-received by the general public and music aficionados alike.

The Terpsichore Double Reed Consort recorded the album iridescent J.S. Bach Keyboard Partitas arranged for Double Reeds in Dekelboum Concert Hall with audio engineer and producer Antonino d'Urzo of Opusrite, and with the help of producers Kenneth Slowik, Artistic Director of the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, and James Ross, Music Director of the Alexandria Symphony.

Cover art by Elena Sloman.

Liner Notes, Information, and Abridged Dissertation (37 pages)

Download
0

J.S. Bach Partita No. 4 in D Major, BWV 828, arr. Lydia Consilvio

1. Ouverture 6:38
2. Allemande 10:02
3. Courante 3:53
4. Aria 2:16
5. Sarabande 5:32
6. Menuet 1:24
7. Gigue 4:41

J.S. Bach Partita No. 3 in A Minor, BWV 827, arr. Lydia Consilvio

8. Fantasia 2:40
9. Allemande 4:32
10. Corrente 3:40
11. Sarabande 3:41
12. Burlesca 2:03
13. Scherzo 1:14
14. Gigue 3:39

J.S. Bach Partita No. 1 in B♭ Major, BWV 825, arr. Lydia Consilvio

15. Prelude 2:15
16. Allemande 4:08
17. Courante 3:26
18. Sarabande 4:48
19. Menuet I-II 3:21
20. Gigue 2:50