CHORAL ARTS PHILADELPHIA LAUNCHES UNPRECEDENTED "1734-1735: A SEASON IN THE LIFE OF J.S. BACH" - BEGINNING OCTOBER 5: ACCLAIMED ENSEMBLE TO PERFORM COMPLETE CYCLE OF 18 CANTATAS FROM BACH'S MOST CREATIVE YEAR
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 8, 2016
PHILADELPHIA, OCTOBER 5, 2016 – APRIL 26, 2017: Choral Arts Philadelphia, a premiere chamber choir led by Artistic Director Matthew Glandorf, has announced the award of a major grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, to present 1734-1735: A Season In The Life of J.S. Bach. The project is a series of nine concert-and-lecture programs presented on Wednesdays 7-8 PM, October 2016 through April 2017, at S. Clement’s Church. Partnering with the Bach Festival of Philadelphia’s resident ensemble of period instruments Philadelphia Bach Collegium, Choral Arts will zoom in on one year in the creative life of Bach, to offer a complete cycle of 18 surviving Cantatas composed and performed during the 1734/35 liturgical season, while Bach served as Cantor of St. Thomas Church and School in Leipzig, Germany. Offered in the intended calendar sequence, the Cantata cycle will be presented within the greater expanded context of Choral Arts’ popular Bach At Seven Cantata Series.
Since 2013, Glandorf has introduced many Philadelphians to myriad rarely heard and well-known Bach cantatas as part of the popular Bach At Seven Cantata Series. In the current season, Choral Arts has embarked to perform all of Bach’s surviving works from his most creative time at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig as part of the 1734-1735: A Season in the Life of Bach series. On the New Year’s Eve 2016, the ensemble will bring, for the second time since 2014, one of J.S. Bach’s lesser known yet monumental works, appropriate for the Season.
Compiled and premiered in Leipzig during the major Feast Days of Christmastide 1734, Christmas Oratorio is a natural addition to Choral Arts’ season lineup. In addition, Glandorf reveals, “a generous supporter was so taken with our premiere performance in 2014 that he came forward and offered a challenge grant to have the event repeated in 2016.”
Christmas Oratorio is, in actuality, a collection of six cantatas, that together present a continuing narrative of the Christmas story as told in the Gospels of St. Matthew, St. Luke and St. John. It ranks along with the two great Passions, St. John and St. Matthew, in drama, inventiveness and beauty, according to Glandorf.
However, it’s rarely heard complete, at least in the United States, due to many programming challenges for any musical organization. Since the six cantatas of the Oratorio were originally performed one per day, the instrumentation is different for each one of them. Additionally, the work has particularly virtuosic choral and solo writing, making the piece inaccessible to many choirs. “Although it would be a challenge for us trying to perform it every year,” Glandorf said, “I like the idea that it could become a regular piece of repertoire for Choral Arts.”
All solo and duet parts will be sung by the professional core members of Choral Arts, with tenor James Reese as Evangelist (The Crossing, Holy Trinity Bach Vespers, Chicago Bach Project).
“I find the idea of a New Year’s Eve concert, post Christmas Day, a lovely way to ‘begin afresh’.” Glandorf commented. “It is a real pleasure to offer an event that can defy traditional patterns and find a foothold in our city’s diverse cultural landscape.”
What: J.S. Bach “Christmas Oratorio” BWV 248, in six parts
When: Saturday, December 31, 4-8 PM
4:00 PM: Parts I-III
5:30PM: Intermission, food and drink concessions
6:30PM: Parts IV-VI
Where: Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, 38th & Chestnut Streets, 19104
Tickets: Early Bird: $10-30 ($15-45 after November 30).
Buy online at www.choralarts.com or at the door. Direct link to ticket sales page.
Info: www.choralarts.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or 267-240-ALTO (2586).
RELATED LINKS (coming soon):
Live concert video: Christmas Oratorio's opening movement, New Year's Eve 2014 performance (7:32 min)
Blog post: Three questions to Matthew Glandorf ahead of the Oratorio 2016
Guest Blogger: Tenor James Reese reflecting on singing the Evangelist
Intro video: Interview with host Marvin Rosen
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
Facebook Choral Arts: https://www.facebook.com/ChoralArtsPhiladelphia/
Facebook Bach Festival: https://www.facebook.com/BachFestPhila/
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