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The Bach Festival's Final Moments Approach

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Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2013 6:30 pm

It’s been charging along since July 13, filling venues with skillfully honed and passionately driven music and song. When the last note is played this Saturday, and the applause has abated, it's not hard to believe that the sound of the 76th Carmel Bach Festival, drenched into the air and the clouds, will reverberate in the silence that follows. But there are just a few concerts left still, including jazz pianist Stephen Prutsman's main concert in a couple of hours (8pm to be exact) at Sunset Center. 

The Friday, 11am, musically diverse program of Christoph Gluck, Franz Schubert, Julian Aracas, tango music legend Astor Piazzola and others at Wave Street Studios is sold out, which is understandable as the venue is small, acoustically resonant and central to a fine day of Cannery Row daytripping. The Youth Chorus Member Showcase at 5pm (All Saints Church) is a free peek at a recital of talented singers of the young chorus. 

And while Friday's 8pm Concert Fantastique at Sunset Center—of Jean-Phillippe Rameau's Les Boreades Suite, Maurice Ravel's "Le tombeau de Couperin" and Hector Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique—has been lauded by festival musicians as a "psychedelic" aural experience (especially Berlioz's muscular symphony), the earlier 2:30pm Beethoven's Brio program at All Saints Church is also sold out, which seems to indicate that classical music aficionados are seeking the last few seats of the festival. 

All the more reason to jump on Saturday's 11am special "pay-what-you-can" offer for the Parisian Matinee Concertante at Sunset Center. Tickets for it originally started at $29, but with this recent special offer (limit two tickets per person), the festival bestows a late gift on concertgoers, in addition to a program of smaller pieces by five composers, including the French-Caribbean Chevalier de Saint-Georges ("the black Mozart").  

Then another Virginia Best Adams Masterclass Showcase (Virginia Best Adams was the widow of photographer Ansel Adams), at 1:30pm, offers a last listen at a behind-the-scenes program of music instruction interspersed with inspiring musical passages. This next-to-last Bach offering is $27, and leaves plenty of time for concertgoers to rest and get centered for the very last performance. And they save the best, literally, for last.  

The Best of the Fest concert, at 7:30pm Saturday, goes out on a big crescendo. It's more expensive, longer, unexpected, somehow more stately and more personal at the same time. The program is yet to be released as Conductor/Music Director Paul Goodwin decides on the set list based on feedback from previous performances. Then they give it their all in this finale that enlists absolutely all the players and singers in a downpour that aims to lift up the spirit and leave this sumptuous music ringing in the ears, in the air, in the memory. 

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