Critic’s Choice

January 20, 2016 at 12:49 pm

By David Wright

Gil Rose

Gil Rose

For generations of listeners, Bach’s six Brandenburg Concertos have been a window on the vast landscape of the Baroque concerto grosso.  Starting in 2006, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra commissioned six outstanding composers—five Americans and one Brit—to look through that window in the other direction, toward the present and the future.

The six resulting works, dubbed “The New Brandenburgs,” will have a family reunion Friday night hosted by conductor Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.  Listeners will hear what happened when the composers were assigned one Brandenburg each and told to take that work’s instrumentation and run with it as far as their imaginations would take them.

Though full of associations with Bach’s ideas and his cultural milieu, the New Brandenburgs don’t often sound like Bach himself. Instead, they sound like Aaron Jay Kernis, Melinda Wagner, Peter Maxwell Davies, Christopher Theofanidis, Stephen Hartke, and Paul Moravec—an all-star team of present-day master composers, composing under the influence of the über-master.  To hear them all in one evening promises to be a rich and varied experience.

The program will be performed 8 p.m. Friday at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall.  bmop.org; 781-324-0396.

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