St. Andrew’s Bach Society Concert

Date and Venue July 28, 2019 | Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Tucson, Arizona

Featured performers Alexander Lipay, flute and Woan Ching Lim, piano

Reviewer Patricia Cassidy

What do you do on a blistering, hot, Sunday afternoon in Tucson? Attend a performance of the St Andrew’s Bach Society’s Annual Summer Concert Series at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. A great local with wonderful air conditioning and music.

The series runs from June through August and this Sunday’s session was a program with Flutist Alexander Lipay, who was accompanied, on most of the repertoire, by Woan Ching Lim on piano. Alexander Lipay is principal flute of the Tucson Symphony, and has performed with a host of people nationally and has received many prestigious awards. He has performed as guest principal flute in a variety of domestic locations and performed in International music festivals. Today, he, and Mis. Ching Lim, in this very intimate and acoustically great local, were playing to a packed house.

The program started with Haydn’s Serenade for flute and piano in C Major. Followed by Mozart’s Concerto No. 2 in D Major K 314. After the short intermission, two composers who were new to me, Italian Saverio Mercandante and French Cecile Chaminade, were on the program.

I really enjoyed this second portion of the concert (new music?) and particularly when Mr. Lipay played with no piano accompaniment on the Mercandante program – a long session with a sweet Largo from the Concerto No. 2 in E minor op. 57 and the Rondo Russo – a very lively, up-tempo piece which conjured up visions of Hopak dancers. I believe that Cecile Chaminade was known chiefly for her piano music and Ms. Ching Lim did get to perform a rather nice piano solo at the end of the concert. The audience loved the concert (as did I) and were reluctant to leave.

The Bach Society was conceived as a cultural gift (non-profit) to the community, featuring local professional musicians. Initially, the emphasis was on Bach and the baroque, but its scope was to be enlarged with time. There are four concerts in the series and the final performance, in August, is The Art of the Fugue and apparently it will be “interactive” not just brilliant musicians playing wonderful music but interaction with the audience as well. I won’t be there but maybe next year in the 2020 series?

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church is a church with a big heart. The Church holds a Monday evening Prayer Vigil for immigrants and Refugees twice a month in the Julian Chapel, which has a beautiful stained glass depiction of migrants, and outside the church is a replica of the Humane Borders blue water barrel the likes of which are deposited in the desert here for persons making their way northwards through the unrelenting desert heat.

© 2019 Patricia Cassidy