This season marks the 80th Carmel Bach Festival, which has grown since its early days, and maintains a strong link to its roots, but has also made a point of creating new traditions. Artistic Director Paul Goodwin is in his seventh year in that role, and says it’s a delicate balance “to keep the traditions rolling, but also expand… to bring new people in.” The opening concert is this Saturday, and runs through July 29th.
There’s more information at the Carmel Bach Festival website.
There’s no B minor Mass or Passion this year, but that doesn’t mean Bach or grand-scale works aren’t well represented. Goodwin says his ‘Ascension’ Oratorio, which fills the first half of the opening night concert will amaze audiences with its richness. “We have lots of concerts with Bach,” he says, “but then come to the Mozart C minor Mass, which as soon as you hear the opening, you will know how based it is on Bach’s B minor Mass, which we happened to do last year.” In keeping with the birthday theme, they’ve also got homages to Philip Glass (also celebrating 80 years this year,) Monteverdi (450). They’ll celebrate with Henry Purcell’s Birthday Ode for Queen Mary on the opening concert along with Philip Glass’s Concerto Grosso. But there’s folk music, Mozart and Viennese waltzes, Monteverdi’s Vespers, and even Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. “I think the variety of what we give is what a festival can do. Because you have an audience coming here for the beautiful place that we’re in, and to have a few days of enjoyable music along with their holiday. But also, we have those people that come in year in year out, who just trust us. You know, they’ll say ‘Paul’s doing this program? I’ll come along, it’s bound to be interesting.’ I like to think this year, I can take anybody that comes up to me and I can say, ‘Look, I will fit a route for you through the festival that would suit your tastes, and a little bit extra.’”