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Release: Immediate

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra performs Bach 'world premiere' in Hancher

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Canada's leading period-instrument ensemble, will perform a "world premiere" by J.S. Bach, as well as music by Purcell, Vivaldi and Handel, at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5 in Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus. The event is part of the Cambridge Place Apartments Concert Series.

The concert, under the artistic direction of Jeanne Lamon, will feature the first performance of a new transcription of Bach's Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1063, for three violins. Other works on the program are Purcell's Suite from "Ayres for the Theatre"; Vivaldi's Concerto in F Major for violin, two oboes, two horns, bassoon and strings; and Handel's perennially popular Suite from "Water Music."

The new three-violin setting of the Bach concerto was transcribed from a Concerto for Three Harpsichords. This is not the stretch that it at first might appear: Several of Bach's harpsichord concertos exist in earlier versions for violin, so it is generally assumed that other of his harpsichord concertos may have similar origins, in violin versions that have been lost.

As a result, some performers and musicologists have attempted to "reconstruct" the lost "originals." The process has not been attempted before with the BWV 1063 concerto, so Tafelmusik took on the challenge of transcribing the work for violins. The impracticality of staging performances with three solo harpsichords has limited the performances of the concerto, and Tafelmusik hopes that the violin version will enable the work to be more frequently performed and, therefore, to become better known.

Tafelmusik was founded in 1979, and has achieved international stature under the leadership of Jeanne Lamon, including the release of nearly 50 recordings. The critic of the Halifax Mail-Star in Nova Scotia wrote, "Tafelmusik is a lavish spectacle for the ear. It's no wonder that Toronto's baroque orchestra is both popular and internationally renowned. . . . they play with an ensemble style the equal of the best string quartets for unanimity of tone, shading, articulation, accent and harmonic balance."

In 1996 the orchestra received Germany's highest recording accolade, the Echo Klassic Award as "Best Orchestra of the Year." Other Tafelmusik recording honors include the Juno Award for Best Classical Album, the Diapason d'or award, the Absolute Sound "Record of the Year" award, the Cannes Classical Award and the BBC Magazine Critics' Choice award.

In addition to the Hancher concert and its home engagements in Toronto, Tafelmusik's 1997-98 schedule includes appearances throughout North America, the Caribbean, Israel, Greece, China, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan. The orchestra's European tours include performances at some of the continent's most prestigious halls -- the Musikverein in Vienna, Symphony Hall in Birmingham and the Barbican Centre in London -- and the late-November Tafelmusik performance in Chicago will be presented by the Chicago Symphony in Symphony Hall.

The orchestra's home concerts in Toronto have become so popular that extra concerts were added this season to meet the demand. Many of its concerts are broadcast nationwide by the Canadian Broadcasting Company.

Tafelmusik means, literally, "table music," reflecting the fact that much of the music the orchestra performs was composed for banquets and feasts. In recognition of the Baroque tradition of feast music, Hancher is sponsoring a table-decorating competition in the lobby, with the Tafelmusik audience as judges.

After viewing the festive decorations before the concert and at intermission, audience members will vote for their favorite table. The winning table-top designer will be announced after the concert and will receive two tickets to an upcoming Hancher event.

Tickets for Tafelmusik are $32, $29.50 and $27. UI students and senior citizens qualify for a 20-percent discount, with Zone 3 tickets available to UI students for $10. Tickets for audience members 17 and younger are half price.

Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area or outside Iowa, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction.

People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Cambridge Place Apartments is the corporate sponsor of Hancher's Concert Series, through the University of Iowa Foundation.