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  • Carnegie Hall Presents
  • ZH Zankel Hall
  • SA/PS Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
  • REW Resnick Education Wing
  • WRH Weill Recital Hall

Les Violons du Roy

Saturday, May 5, 2018 7:30 PM Zankel Hall
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Les Violons du Roy by Camirand Photo
Many of Bach’s most eloquent statements were made at the organ keyboard, where he would improvise on Lutheran chorale tunes and spin complex webs of counterpoint. Bach was also a master of instrumental music, and his violin concertos are melodically rich and highly virtuosic works. Les Violons du Roy explores the best of both these worlds in a program that features concertos and striking new arrangements of the Leipzig master’s keyboard works.

Part of: Baroque Unlimited


Les Violons du Roy
Bernard Labadie, Founding Conductor
Isabelle Faust, Violin


Three Leipzig Chorale Preludes (transcr. Bernard Labadie)
·· Fantasia on Komm, Heiliger Geist, BWV 651
·· Trio on Nun komm’ der Heiden Heiland, BWV 660
·· Trio on Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend, BWV 655
Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 582 (arr. Bernard Labadie)
Violin Concerto in E Major
Violin Concerto in A Minor
Contrapunctus XIV from The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 (completed by Bernard Labadie, after Davitt Moroney)
Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.

Mix and Mingle

Join us immediately after this concert at Zankel Hall’s Parterre Bar for a 45-minute mix and mingle.
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Les Violons du Roy would like to thank the following partners: Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, Canada Council for the Arts, and Gestion Marthe Bourgeois Ltée.

At a Glance

One of the outstanding virtuosos of his age, Johann Sebastian Bach composed music for organ and harpsichord throughout his life. The five keyboard pieces on tonight’s program—heard in modern arrangements for string orchestra similar to those that Bach himself might have made—attest to the sophistication of his technique as both composer and performer. Bach’s keyboard playing, like his music, reflected a synthesis of the “learned” and heavily contrapuntal German idiom; the melodious, extraverted Italian style; and the French penchant for florid, speech-like arioso. He studied and admired the works of François Couperin and his fellow claveciniste composers, whose harpsichord music demanded exceptional lightness and evenness of touch.

Although the organ was Bach’s principal instrument, he was also an accomplished violinist and violist. In his later years, he was often to be seen at Zimmermann’s coffeehouse in Leipzig, conducting the resident Collegium Musicum ensemble from the concertmaster’s stand. The three concertos that Les Violons du Roy will perform date from this period of the composer’s life. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach told his father’s biographer, Johann Nikolaus Forkel, that his father “understood to perfection the possibilities of all stringed instruments.” The younger Bach quoted an eminent violinist of the time as saying that “he had seen nothing more perfect for learning to be a good violinist and could suggest nothing better to anyone eager to learn” than Bach’s six Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin.

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