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Schuller-led program highlights Bach this weekend

Alexander Pope’s remarks about Isaac Newton may be paraphrased to read:

Music and music’s law lay hid in night: God said, “Let Bach be,” and all was light.

The 34th annual Northwest Bach Festival continues Saturday with the Bach Festival Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Artistic Director Gunther Schuller. Vocal soloists Katherine Growdon, mezzo; Rockland Osgood, tenor; and Donald Wilkinson, baritone are also featured.

“Oh, had I but tears enough” by J. Christoph Bach will open the program. This will be followed by J.S. Bach’s brief and rarely performed (Lutheran) Mass in G Minor.

Luigi Boccherini’s Symphony in D Major, Op. 42, No. 26 will conclude the concert.

Internationally acclaimed composer-pianist William Doppmann will give a piano recital at 8 p.m. March 10. The highlight of this program will be J.S. Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” (Aria with 30 Variations). Doppmann will also perform Fugue in C-sharp Minor from Bach’s “The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I”; Johann Kuhnau’s biblical sonata “The Fight Between David and Goliath;” and C.P.E. Bach’s Sonata in F Minor.

Doppmann is artistic director for the Port Townsend Chamber Music Society. Tim Page of the New York Times wrote in 1986: “William Doppmann’s piano recital … at Alice Tully Hall was one of the season’s most distinctive. Mr. Doppmann is also a composer, and he plays like one – re-creating whatever music he chooses to play with freshness and originality …”

A preconcert talk by Jane Ellsworth of Eastern Washington University, is scheduled.

Each of the above performances begins at 7:30 p.m.

John Bodinger of Spokane will present an organ recital at 8 p.m. March 16. Chorale settings of Johann Pachelbel, Gottfried August Homilius and J.S. Bach will be featured along with a stunning finale by German composer Max Reger.

This is a free concert; donations accepted.

World renowned cellist Zuill Bailey will conclude the 2012 festival at 3 p.m. March 18. This program will feature three of J.S. Bach’s Suites for Solo Cello: No. 1 in G Major (this work includes the well-known Praeludium used frequently in film and television); No. 2 in D Minor; and No. 3 in C Major.

Bailey will provide commentary about each work during the performance. He is in great demand around the globe as a soloist, director of numerous music festivals and recording artist.

Festival artistic director Schuller lives in Boston. He is a composer, conductor, music educator, Pulitzer Prize winner for music and a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant.

In 2005 Schuller was named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress and was recently inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame. He will talk about his memoir “Gunther Schuller: A Life in Pursuit of Music and Beauty” at Auntie’s Bookstore at 2:30 p.m. March 17.

Donivan Johnson, who lives in Metaline Falls, is a composer, lecturer and K-12 music instructor for the Selkirk School District