I like to think of the 4th Concerto as the time when Bach
asks Ana Magadalena for her hand in marriage, to be mother to his children, and
to have many more children together.
This would have occurred around one year after Bach started writing the
Ecstasy, trepidation, hope and fear mix with terrible
memories of his first wife, son and brothers deaths, and betrayal by his
patron, that are barely a year old.
It is a time of reaching out, the trauma healed just enough to trust
again and see the goodness – and bad – in those around you. I think, with four young mouths to
feed, time for contemplation was sparse, and composing was escape, relaxation,
a touchstone during this period of transition to Bach’s future. They would have 13 children together
and spend every day working together for almost the rest of their lives.
The 4th Concerto has within it among the most beautiful
elements, and also the hardest passages, demanding a virtuosity few have. The 3rd Movement of the 4th Concerto is
the fastest of all 23 Brandenburg Movements.
The Honorees are three great scientists: Madame Marie Curie,
Linus Pauling and Albert Einstein; and two regional heroes Helen Iwanaga – who,
among many other things, organized
bands and wrote music in the internment camps during World War II, and Lloyd
Pemintel – who sang the children of a labor camp to bed every night after his
12 hour shift, ending each night by singing “You Are My Sunshine” to his own