Rachel Podger: Bach and Biber

Rachel Podger with violin scroll

January 24, 2020 | 7:30PM
Logan Center Performance Hall

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Bach: Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007
          Cello Suite No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1009
          Violin Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004

Biber: Passacaglia in G Minor for solo violin, “Guardian Angel”

6:30 PM lecture with Lawrence Zbikowski

Though as a kid she once had to hide her practice of Baroque violin from her exclusively modern-playing peers (and occasionally teachers!), Rachel Podger is often now the standard other violinists must measure up to for performances of Bach, Vivaldi, their predecessors and contemporaries.

When it comes to Bach, it is not just his music for violin that the 2018 Gramophone Artist of the Year has brought her rich and spirited musical touch to; she has extended herself beyond the standard repertoire, playing (to great acclaim) his flute partitas, arrangements of his Art of the Fugue, and, most recently, his cello suites. “I secretly coveted these works early on,” Podger says, and after coaching cellists on the pieces for years, they slowly filtered into her own vocabulary and repertoire.

At UChicago Presents, Podger performs Bach’s first and third cello suites, which take on a lightness and playfulness in her hands, alongside the D minor partita for solo violin, with its arresting chaconne. She closes the program with Heinrich Biber’s “Guardian Angel” passacaglia, the finale to his deeply expressive Mystery Sonatas.

Rachel Podger performs in the Logan Center Performance Hall on Friday, January 24 at 7:30 pm. Before the performance, at 6:30, Professor of Music Lawrence Zbikowski gives a pre-concert lecture from the stage.