Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht

I arrived on Tuesday August 28 and while adjusting to the jet lag have heard three wonderful concerts in the two days I have been here. Wednesday night featured the great Masaaki Suzuki conducting his chorus and orchestra in settings of Magnificat by three different composers. Kuhnau, Zelenka and J.S. Bach. It was illuminating as it once again shows what a giant step in musical history J. S. Bach represents. It also reminded me of the performance of Bach’s Magnificat conducted by Gustav Leonhardt which was the centerpiece of the 1992 Berkeley Festival.

There is, of course a major symposium here remembering Leonhardt who died this year. I recall that at the recent Berkeley Festival the event in his memory given by the American Keyboard Society was one of the highlights of the Festival. I have with me all of the correspondence between myself and Leonhardt which led up to his appearance in 1992 and all of it in his very distinctive handwriting. No email at that time! His final letter to me was in response to my invitation for him to return for the 1996 Festival. He replied that unfortunately that time was fully booked but that he was hoping to be invited again in the “following century” One of the participants in the three day symposium this week will be my great friend and colleague, John Butt. Among many things he did for the Berkeley Festival while he was in Berkeley was prepare the chorus for the performance for Leonhardt in June of 1992. I Very much look forward to seeing John later this week.

There is much more but I must be off to another day full of music and it seems that every concert is sold out!