Attending my first CMU Baroque Ensemble concert: enjoying Bach's Brandenburg 2

I attended a free concert of the CMU Baroque Ensemble for the very first time!

The CMU Baroque Ensemble under Stephen Schultz has been around for over a decade, starting in 2002, but I had never attended one of their concerts, because basically, until I started playing recorder last year, I had very little interest in Baroque music.

But now I’m really immersing myself in Baroque music, so I decided to check out the student ensemble. Also, I’d never seen Stephen Schultz in action before outside the CMU lecture hall (I took his “Survey of Western Musical History” in 2006) and his CD recordings of Baroque flute music.

The students played modern instruments, but Schultz clearly aimed to evoke a crisp, Baroque style of play from the ensemble. He is an enthusiastic and clear conductor and it is enjoyable watching him direct this music he clearly loves.

Bach’s Brandenburg 2

Various pieces were performed in this concert, but the highlight for me was Bach’s Brandenburg concerto no. 2, which I have recently come to love. I had ignored the Brandenburg concertos for much of my life, but when I started playing recorder last year, I found that one of the method books I used, a two-volume method by Mario Duschenes, ends with challenging solo recorder parts for the Brandenburg concerto no. 2 and no. 4, and I aspired to be able to play these, and listened to some recordings I found of them, and truly fell in love with the music! (Note: the CMU Baroque Ensemble did not use recorder, but flute, in the Brandenburg 2.)

It was thrilling for me to watch the Brandenburg 2 performed live, because of the prominent high trumpet part. I’d never seen this in action before.

By the way, here’s a performance of the first movement of the Brandenburg 2, on historical instruments (rather than the modern instruments played in the CMU Baroque Ensemble concert). Check out the recorder and trumpet!


I enjoyed the concert and will probably continue to attend more by the CMU Baroque Ensemble, to continue my Baroque “education”. It is, of course, not a professional ensemble, but it is great to see CMU students dedicated to performing Baroque music.

(Update of 2013-11-25)

The fine trumpet player in this concert was Erin Yanacek, whom I’d later coincidentally encounter through her writings and from meeting her by accident.

comments powered by Disqus