Since its founding in 2008 as a diverse group of professionals, students and avocational musicians, the Oregon Bach Collegium has offered historically informed performances in Oregon. Our goal is to spark interest, advance education and encourage dialogue about our rich musical past. We have performed music by such well-known composers as Bach, Handel, Telemann, Vivaldi, Scarlatti, Purcell and Couperin. At the same time we have also explored the lesser-known masters of the eighteenth century, including Graupner, Heinichen, Pepusch, and still did not neglect the early seventeenth-century music by Cima, Castello and Riccio. Extending our scope in the other direction, we have performed early works of Josef Haydn and Boccherini.
This is a literature whose charm is, if not lost, then certainly diminished by the imposition of 19th/20th century instruments, performing styles and concepts of intonation. Our intention has been to apply the best and most enlightened scholarship to recovering the “period’ sound of this music. This we do by the use of the most appropriate instruments available, the original editions or manuscripts where possible, and the powerful element of improvisation which was so much a part of the period and which makes the music seem new and fresh again.
In each concert we tell a story, or at least make a point. Notable examples of our interest in historical context include our presentation of music from the court of Frederick the Great, a presentation of music mentioned in the Patrick O’Brian novels, and a re-creation of the meeting between Francis Drake’s musicians and a Javanese gamelan as performed on the deck of the Golden Hind in 1580. We research, devise, plan, rehearse and present these programs both for our own pleasure and gratification and for that of our audiences. It is they who make it possible through support of and attendance at our concerts, supplying the receptive ears without which the music looses a vital dimension.