Bach to Jazz
Bach–Goldberg Variations by Uri Caine
Uri Caine, arrangements and piano
Sounds of Mercy, cond. Jepa Lambert
Avanti! Chamber Orchestra
UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra, cond. Ed Partyka
Finnish Baroque Orchestra
The co-operation between three independent orchestras from Helsinki, the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra, the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra and the Finnish Baroque Orchestra (FiBO), and the Helsinki Music Centre continues with a concert that brings classical music and jazz together. The concert is part of AUF, a co-operation between the three orchestras that has been going on since autumn 2017. This time, the collective jumps bravely at the chance to work together with the composer, arranger and pianist Uri Caine with his Bach–Goldberg Variations. Guest artists at the concert Tuesday 12th September are the rapper Paleface and the gospel choir Sounds of Mercy. Uri Caine himself plays the piano and arranges the music.
Uri Caine (b. 1956, USA) is a versatile composer with a very wide range. Among other music, he has recorded classical music, chamber music, jazz, soulfunk, Brazilian pop and older American popular music. Caine has drawn attention with his unconventional and unpredictable versions of classical works by Mahler, Wagner, Schumann and Bach. Caine’s wild, free and challenging interpretation of the Goldberg Variations, one of Bach’s later works, is a luscious collision of baroque, classical music and jazz.
J. S. Bach (1685–1750) composed his Goldberg Variations around the year 1742 for his benefactor Hermann Karl von Keyserling, with the intent to help his insomnia with soothing and mellow night music. In the late 1990’s, Uri Caine started working on the variations and created his own monumental Gesamtkunstwerk around them. Caine has not only made jazz versions of the old, classical pieces, but he has rather made a deep dive into the music, captured the essence of the composer’s original work and joined it with his own musical inventions and desires, while keeping to the spirit of Bach’s work.
For this concert, Uri Caine is rearranging a selection of the 70 variations for the unique ensemble consisting of the three orchestras. Every orchestra as well as smaller joint ensembles bring their own flavour to this delightful and surprising genre soup. The versatile rapper Paleface together with the choir Sounds of Mercy, consisting of the best Finnish gospel singers lead by Jepa Lambert, convey the moods and hold the gigantic work together, from the baroque pastiches to the arias and from the disco moments to the hip hop. The concert ends with a joint final culmination with the three orchestras.
Duration: 70 min (no intermission)
In the pre-concert talk at 6 pm, the concert performers discuss the work and the process of creating art together. The talk is in the main foyer of the Music Centre, in the cafeteria end.
After the concert, those who wish can stay in the hall for a moment of chamber music during which musicians from the FiBO perform movements from Bach’s Die Kunst der Fuge. The duration is around 20 minutes.