If you go
› What: Artist Series concert by Christa Rakich (harpsichord).
› When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25.
› Where: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 305 W. Seventh St.
› Admission: $20 adults, $15 seniors ($90 and $75 for five-show series subscription).
› Phone: 423-266-8195.
› Website: www.stpaulschatt.org/concert-season.
Save the date
Still to come in the Artist Series at St. Paul’s are:
› Tuesday, Dec. 13: EYA: Ensemble for Medieval Music
› Sunday, Jan. 29: The Dali Quartet (Latin-style string music)
› Friday, Feb. 17: Katelyn Emerson (organ)
› Friday, March 3: Vienna Piano Trio
› Tuesday, March 28: Special event: The Tallis Scholars (British vocal ensemble)
St. Paul's Episcopal Church will open its 2016-17 Artist Series season on Tuesday, Oct. 25, with harpsichordist Christa Rakich performing J.S. Bach's "Goldberg Variations."
Five additional concerts through spring will feature renowned soloists, chamber musicians and vocal ensembles, some performing in Chattanooga for the first time.
Rakich's concert career has taken her throughout North America and Europe. She has been critically acclaimed for her live performances and recordings, and her interpretations, particularly of music by J.S. Bach, have been praised for their "variety, ingenuity, elegance and scholarship, as well as a pristine technique."
The monumental and iconic "Goldberg Variations" is considered one of Bach's most masterful and ambitious works — a Mount Everest for keyboard soloists.
"This extraordinary work begins and ends with a songful aria, and in between are 30 dazzling variations — each one a precious gem ranging in emotion from lively to dreamy, joyous to tragic, dazzling to poetic," Rakich says. "My hope is that this concert will be a beautiful adventure for both the performer and the audience."
Series spokeswoman Suzanne Ford notes that "Goldberg Variations" is not often performed live in concert — particularly on harpsichord, the instrument Bach himself played.
"It comes with an unusual, if apocryphal, story — that Bach wrote it to soothe an insomniac nobleman," she says. "But it's now considered one of his great masterpieces and a pinnacle of the keyboard repertoire."
Ford says pianist Glenn Gould made a famous recording in the 1950s, many other pianists and harpsichordists have recorded it since then and it has been arranged for other instruments as well. "Everyone wants to play it," Ford says.
Jerome Robbins, who choreographed "West Side Story," among other shows, used "Goldberg Variations" for one of his ballets.
"There won't be any dancing at the St. Paul's concert, unless someone in the audience gets carried away," she quips.
Season subscriptions and single tickets may be purchased in advance through the St. Paul's website. Tickets for each concert also will be sold at the door.