Bach and Music of Today

J.S. Bach never seems outdated. Every one of his works contains an eerie relevance to the present, the layers and complexities of tone, rhythm and color going so far beyond anything most of his Baroque contemporaries could conceive of that one never ceases to wonder just what planet he came from. This week, Monday Evening Concerts presents Kent Nagano’s exploration of “the distinctively modern aspects of Bach’s language” and its relationship to today. Performed by the MEC Ensemble, Ichiro Nodaira, conductor and pianist, and violists Kurt Rohde and Ellen Ruth Rose, the program includes the Prelude and Fugue in C major, Prelude and Fugue in C-sharp major, and the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue by Bach; the insanely romanticized Bach Chaconne, arranged by Ferruccio Busoni; George Benjamin’s Viola, Viola, a work for two violas noted for its rich choral sonority; Rohde’s Double Trouble, another two-viola work that takes the once-neglected instrument to new heights of ingenious virtuosity; the L.A. premiere of Korean-born, Germany-based composer Unsuk Chin’s Fantaisie Mécanique; and the U.S. premiere of Nodaira’s Texture du Délire I. Colburn School of Performing Arts, Zipper Concert Hall; Mon., March 19, 8 p.m.; $25, $10 students. (310) 836-6632.

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