On Sunday, February 14th at 4:00 PM The Friends of Music at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Westfield will present a Recital performed in tandem by violinist Brennan Sweet, Associate Concertmaster of The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and Jonathan Spitz, NJSO’s celebrated principal cellist. Baroque composers Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frederic Handel are featured on this Sunday afternoon, Valentine’s Day, Bach to Handel program.
Violinist Sweet will perform Bach’s Partita III in E Major for solo violin (BWV 1006), composed in 1720 in six movements: Preludio, Loure, Menuets (I and II), Bourrée and Gigue. This piece typically celebrates the various dances and dance tempos popular in the early 18th Century/late Baroque period. For example, the lyrical Loure, (gigue lente), a slow French Baroque dance, is followed by the more lively Gavotte en Rondeau which, says Sweet, “should set toes tapping.”
Cellist Spitz will perform Bach’s Cello Suite II in D minor for solo cello (BWV 1008) (1717-23), composed, likewise, in a symmetrically conceived cycle of Preludio followed by five Baroque dance-type variations. Unlike Bach’s Partita III, this Suite did not become widely known and popular until 1936-39, when cellist Pablo Casals became the first to record it, at Abbey Road Studios in London. Spitz is praised for his interpretation of this dramatic, deeply soulful work.
Sweet and Spitz will cap the February 14 Recital with a vivacious, inspirational duet -- The Passacaglia from Handel’s Suite in G minor (HWV 432), arranged for violin and cello by Johan Halvorsen. Described as a theme-based “series of thrilling variations in a tour de force of musical invention,” this work is nicknamed “The Impossible,” alluding to the difficulty of creating full, four-part harmony with only two instruments. Notes St. Paul’s Music Director Charles M. Banks, “it will culminate what promises to be a wonderful afternoon of music of the highest caliber performed by two consummate guest artists!”
“Given St. Paul’s wonderful acoustics and spirited surroundings,” adds Banks, “these virtuosic works and performers are expected to enhance both the listening and the viewing pleasure of Recital attendees – and they could also tug on a few Valentine’s Day heart strings!”
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is located at 414 E. Broad Street (near Euclid Ave.) in Westfield. Tickets at the door are $20. Students and parking are free. Following the Recital, attendees are invited to meet and greet Messrs. Sweet and Spitz at a bountiful reception in the Cloister. For more information, contact Director Banks at (908) 451-5082, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.