Andrew Altenbach talks Bachs

by Alison Young, Minnesota Public Radio
June 24, 2014

St. Paul, Minn. — Sometimes, the lives of composers read like headlines ripped from the tabloids:

Mozart steals symphony - calls it his own!

Famous composer's son tries to show up dad with impossible task!

Son's fortune stolen by trusted servant! Son dies completely bankrupt!

Are composers' lives more interesting than their music?

Andrew Altenbach, artistic director of the Minnesota Bach Ensemble, is my guest to talk Bach's sons and friends.

CPE Bach had "daddy issues." I asked my guest, "Andrew, is your dad a conductor?"

"No, Alison," he said, "but a lawyer with his own control me!" Finding the score to the Carl Friedrich Abel Symphony in D op. 17, No. 3, was HUGE detective work … it was nowhere to be found, but then one university had it, so Altenbach drove across the state to get it — only to discover page 51 was missing. "Well, it's just the recapitulation so I can always guess what's happening," Altenbach says. This week, the Minnesota Bach Ensemble performs a concert of Mozart and Bach — and the bridge that gets us there — C.P.E. Bach, J.C. Bach and Abel, who held new-music concerts of their own music in London in the 1800s.

The concert, called "Bach in Bloom," takes place Thursday, June 26, at 7:30 p.m., at St. Olaf Catholic Church in Minnepolis. Soloists include Adam Kuenzel, flute, and Basil Reeve, oboe.

Listen to my full interview with Andrew Altenbach to learn more about the fascinating lives of the composers whose music will be showcased.

Interview produced by Mike Pengra.

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