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Quartets for Karl Freiderich Abel: Johann Christian Bach’s Opus 8

Barefoot Chamber Concerts

Barefoot Chamber Concerts Quartets for Karl Freiderich Abel: Johann Christian Bach’s Opus 8

Barefoot Chamber Concerts (“an enterprise noted for both its quality and informality” – San Francisco Classical Voice) presents really good music in the right acoustic and without the formality of most classical music events.

Barefoot’s February Concert features a West Coast Premiere, the original version of Johann Christian Bach’s Opus 8 quartets. This set of 6 lovely quartets, a true icon of the early classical period, was published in many editions, starting in 1772, for violin, viola, flute or oboe, and continuo. Recent research has revealed that the original (manuscript) scoring was for viola da gamba rather than viola, and the later, published version featured a viola part only because of the scarcity of competent viola da gamba players at the time.

The published viola parts were “dumbed down” for publication, but the original viola da gamba parts are idiosyncratic and demanding; J. C. Bach wrote them specifically for his great friend Karl Friedrich Abel, one of the last of the great virtuosi of that instrument. Since 1764, Bach and Abel had been living in London, among a society of very collegial English (and German expatriate) musicians working for Queen Charlotte (Mrs. King George III), the grand patroness of the arts.

Tonight’s performance features David Morris playing the part of K. F. Abel, and Katherine Heater as Queen Charlotte, who often sat in as the harpsichordist of the group. The original violin, flute, and oboe players are unknown, but our present day substitutes are local stars you know and love.

For more information, visit Tickets online (recommended) or at the door if not sold out.

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David Morris

Viola da Gamba

Katherine Heater


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