The fourth edition of the Appenzeller Bachtage, «Chiaroscuro», will take place between
August 19th and 23rd, 2020. We are looking forward to your visit!

Chiaroscuro – Welcome to the Appenzeller Bachtage 2020

One of the greatest composers of all times will be back in the region of Appenzell this summer. The Appenzeller Bachtage is a small festival that deliberately breaks with conventions. Listening, exploring, experiencing music together and exchanging ideas in a relaxed atmosphere, such is the mission of the Appenzeller Bachtage. The festival’s fourth edition is all about one fascinating theme light and darkness.

Bach’s music, such as the music of the baroque era in general, speaks with a high level of pictoriality. Human affects such as joy, affection or grief – often under the light of religious belief – are to be expressed in such a way that the music is able to move the listener’s mind. In the baroque period, an extensive theory of affects linking language, rhetoric and musical composition arose. The whole range of human emotions is thus represented in instrumental and vocal compositions through musically characteristic motifs. However, the dramatism of Baroque music or painting can hardly be understood as a sort of abstract artistic expression alone. Nor can it be understood without the social context of its time, embedded in religious and political disputes and even wars, but also in great scientific progress and in the Enlightenment.

For the upcoming edition of the Appenzeller Bachtage we have put together a varied programme based on Bach’s cantata BWV 19 «Es erhub sich ein Streit» (There arose a war), with works ranging from the early Baroque (Byrd, Froberger) to the classical and early romantic periods (Beethoven). Just as the 2018 edition of our festival dealt with Bach’s pictorial language, the 2020 edition will focus on its contrasts and confrontations. In so doing, we seek out discrepancies and inconsistencies, illuminate antagonisms and disenchant supposed harmonies. Chiaroscuro is our motto.

The festival’s programme was developed departing from the content of Bach’s cantata BWV 19, whose performance is part of the mission of the J.S. Bach Foundation (initiator of the festival), as well as on successful concert formats such as «Singen in der früh», the academies and the «Konzertwanderung» (concert hiking). In addition to the monthly cantata concerts at various locations in the Appenzell region, the festival represents a summer residence for Choir & Orchestra of the J.S. Bach Foundation under its chief conductor Rudolf Lutz, and also a meeting place for hundreds of Bach lovers and culturally inclined people from all over Switzerland and its neighbouring countries.

Please contact us for further information in English.