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Released June 2, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- Making its final tour stop in Hattiesburg, the Victoria Bach Ensemble will present "Bach to Beethoven: A Musical Journey" at 7:30 p.m. on June 16 at Parkway Heights United Methodist Church.

Three of the five members have close ties to the area and The University of Southern Mississippi. Stephen Redfield, violin, and Dana Ragsdale, harpsichord, are faculty members in the School of Music at Southern Miss. Cellist Dieter Wulfhorst is a former faculty member, having filled a one-year appointment in 2000.

Other artists of the ensemble include violinist Susan Doering and violist Suzanna Giordano.

The program traces the musical influences, stylistic and teacher-to-student, that link the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven. Intervening composers include two of Bach's sons, Wilhelm Friedemann and Carl Philipp Emanuel, as well as Franz Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

The evening's program includes J.S. Bach's "Christ lag in Todes Banden"; W.F. Bach's "Sinfonie in F Major"; C P.E. Bach's "Sonata No. 6 in G Major (Kenner und Liebhaber)"; Haydn's "Piano Trio in A Major"; Mozart's "Preludes and Fugues for String Trio"; and Beethoven's "String Quartet in C Minor, Op. 18, No. 4."

"The music of Bach's sons naturally shows their father's influence, both having studied with him," Redfield said. "Their compositions, however, took music into new stylistic territory--the rococo, with its light mood and decorative qualities, and the dramatic and emotionally shifting 'empfindsamer' style."

Redfield further explained that Mozart's own father urged him to take after Bach's sons, who were socially and financially successful. The young musical genius was more inclined to study Johann Sebastian's style by transcribing fugues from the "Well-Tempered Clavichord."

Haydn and Beethoven also admired the older Bach's mastery but echoes of the graceful rococo style may be heard in Haydn's trio and of the "empfindsamer" in Beethoven's highly emotive string quartet.

Although Beethoven and Mozart never met, they knew of each other. Haydn actually counted Beethoven among his pupils.

The Hattiesburg performance is the final concert of a tour that began at the Victoria Bach Festival in Victoria, Texas. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted. For more information, call (601) 544-7873.


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June 15, 2004 4:03 PM