In his review in today’s paper of the Catalyst String Quartet Bach Festival performance at St. John’s Cathedral on Sunday afternoon, Spokesman-Review classical music critic Larry Lapidus wrote this: “that if the world of music holds any pleasure greater than hearing Zuill Bailey play Bach, I have yet to find it.”
Those who love classical music, or those whose interest in it is only passing, have had several chances in recent days to hear what Lapidus is talking about. Bailey has been popping up around town during the noon hour, playing whichever of the six J.S. Bach Suites for Unaccompanied Cello suits his fancy.
I’ve caught two of the four held so far – the first one, held in the atrium at River Park Square, and yesterday’s, held in the city council chambers in Spokane City Hall. (Certainly a room that could use all the harmony it can get.) Each session has started with an introduction – details about Bach, about the festival, and about Bailey’s cello, a 1693 instrument built as a church bass by the Italian Matteo Gofriller. After the music plays, there’s a pop quiz for the chance to win concert tickets, and an opportunity for questions.
These free “Flash-Bach” concerts are a perfect excuse to spend a little time in the lunch hour enjoying some culture. It’s these kind of artistic events that make a city feel more alive, more vibrant. So if you’re out and about downtown today, head over to the Bank of America building at at noon today. Bailey will be in the lobby, ready to wow you with some Bach.
Can’t make it today? What about Thursday? Bailey will set up in the Kress Gallery in River Park Square (that’s up on the third floor, behind the food court) for a “Bach’s Lunch” concert, also at noon. Brown-bag it from home, or grab something in the mall and enjoy lunch with a beautiful – and free – soundtrack.
The final Flash-Bach concert will be on Friday, at a location yet to be publicly announced (though sources say it will be in the Valley). Check the festival’s Facebook page on Friday morning for details, or visit nwbachfest.org for information on the remaining Twilight Tour concerts featuring violinist Soovin Kim, and the two remaining Classics Concerts on Saturday and Sunday night.
As Bailey ends the second year in his role as the Northwest Bach Festival’s artistic director, it’s been impossible not to notice how revitalized the event is. And that’s a good thing – not just for fans of classical music, but for Spokane as a whole.