The renowned Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at the Bachfest Leipzig: cultivated sounds by Bach, Hiller and Mozart in St. Nicholas' Church.
Leipzig has a nearly unbroken local tradition of performing Bach's music. Nevertheless, the Bachfest there attracts many international ensembles. And most festival guests also come from beyond the city, around half even traveling in from abroad.
Prominent guests at the Bachfest 2012 were the musicians of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment from Great Britain. Orchestra member Kati Debretzeni told DW, "If you come here as an outsider and perform Bach, there is a feeling of, 'What can you show us about our Bach that we didn't know before?' And the audience in St. Thomas' and St. Nicholas' Churches listen to Bach in a completely different way than any other audience in the world."
Here Kati Debretzeni shares the spotlight with another violinist, Margaret Faultless, in Bach's Double Concerto.
A key figure in Leipzig's music scene in the late 18th century was the composer, conductor, music teacher and publisher Johann Adam Hiller. Cantor of St. Thomas' Church from 1789 to 1801, Hiller was a successor to Bach. He was also the first principal conductor of the famed Gewandhaus Orchestra.
And his music? Violinist Margaret Faultless explains: "Most professional composers were good craftsmen doing a job. It wasn't obligatory to be a genius, and thank goodness it's not obligatory to be a genius as a violinist either, otherwise most of us would be out of a job! I like playing Hiller because there's something very honest in his music. It's well done and well-written."
Mozart's Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, his next to last symphony, is sometimes nicknamed the "Tragic." The work is played in this recording without a conductor, with Margaret Faultless as concert master, demonstrating the musicians' independence and musicality together.
The Orchestral Suite in B Minor belongs to the works that Bach wrote for performance in a coffee house in Leipzig. It's one of the best loved works of classical music, particularly the final movement, the "Badinerie," frequently heard nowadays as a cell phone ring tone. The solo flute remains in the spotlight throughout, and Lisa Beznosiuk plays that part in this recording.