November 23, 2013 |
Bach cantatas are so numerous and riddled with quirks that Choral Arts Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society need not fear redundancy in their efforts to translate music with a specific liturgical function to a modern concert format. The Chamber Music Society's evening of Bach cantata arias on Tuesday at the American Philosophical Society had been long envisioned by founder Tony Checchia and was the first in a possible annual tradition. The hall was packed. The program consisted of arias and ensembles, not complete cantatas, with Hyunah Yu and Randall Scarlata heading a quintet of singers (including Sarah Shafer, Jazimina MacNeil, Karim Sulayman)
October 19, 2013 |
A balmy autumn night. Forty-five minutes of Bach and like-minded composers. Wine and cookies afterward. Such was the inauguration of "Bach at Seven" on Wednesday, a Bach cantata series by Choral Arts Philadelphia and the Bach Festival of Philadelphia, directed by Matt Glandorf. Inspired in part by the "Bach at One" series at Trinity Wall Street in New York, the series promises monthly Bach-oriented concerts outside the typical concert slots (these are at 7 p.m.), in intermissionless, hour-long programs.
May 7, 2013 |
Like any enterprising vocal group, Choral Arts Philadelphia has faced many mid-performance dangers at the hands of J.S. Bach over the years, but its Sunday performance of the supremely challenging Mass in B Minor was admirably solid, with subtle provocations. The grand finale of the Bach Festival of Philadelphia, the performance, at the First Baptist Church had a strong conceptual foundation: Music director Matthew Glandorf embraces the historically informed performance camp, even using authentic pronunciation that gives the music a distinctive tint.
June 27, 2009 |
While many performing arts groups struggle to stay alive, the Buxtehude Consort is struggling to be born. And this early-music ensemble's prospects - even with a name that's obscure to some and repertoire still being rehabilitated - are good. The inaugural concert at St. Mark's Episcopal Church on Wednesday attracted a decent audience, the program was full of thanks to people and organizations donating services, and, in the end, the name may be viable - or at least more intriguing than generic ones like the Philadelphia Camerata.
December 9, 2008 |
How badly does Philadelphia need a Bach festival? Bad enough that on a frigid Sunday afternoon at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, the line was out the door, the pews were packed, and folding chairs accommodated all who wanted to hear the program - and not thanks to holiday warhorses. The occasion was the first joint concert of the Bach Festival of Philadelphia and the Choral Arts Society in a program of Bach Christmas cantatas (not necessarily the best-known ones), the audience size illustrating the power of artistic consolidation in what promise to be hard times ahead.
March 19, 2008 |
Music doesn't live isolated in caves. It lives in the open, joining a long procession of forebears and still-unforeseen progeny, vibrant testimony to the wonder of organized sound in its cultural milieu. Such was the message of pianist Andrew Rangell, who came Monday to play Bach but ended by talking Bach to his audience at the Ethical Society. That was understandable, for once you begin to talk about Bach there is no way to end. The composer reveals himself little by little - forever.
March 19, 2008 |
Stumbling upon a great musical edifice seems vaguely impossible: The musical wonders of the world just don't pop up out of nowhere, do they? But in that somewhat isolated musical continent that is the choral music world, you could (on consecutive days) bump into the massive Thomas Tallis motet, Spem in alium, at Cardinal Dougherty High School in the Northeast, or hear excellent Bach motet performances in one of the farthest-flung satellites of Bach Festival of Philadelphia, in Chestnut Hill.
March 24, 2007 |
J.S. Bach seems as suited to our time as he was to his own - maybe more so, considering that some 18th-century minds thought him a bit old-fashioned. So after the Bach Festival of Philadelphia commissioned a pair of composers to write new pieces based on Bach chorales, the field of possibilities was as wide open as can be at Thursday's recital by pianist Simone Dinnerstein at Trinity Center for Urban Life. You couldn't have planned the opposing viewpoints of composers David Post and Philip Lasser.
March 19, 2007 |
The Bach Festival of Philadelphia is full of smart, fresh ideas on revealing the infinitely numerous faces of that ceaselessly interesting Johann Sebastian, from premiering new works based on Bach chorales to inviting guests who create special occasions, such as the New York Collegium under the authoritative Andrew Parrott. Then there's that nasty old expression about best-laid plans: Friday's festival opening at the Church of the Holy Trinity had, under logistically trying conditions, an artistic triumph that few heard.
March 16, 2007 |
Simone Dinnerstein was not always the biggest fan of Johann Sebastian Bach. After all, the Brooklyn-based, Juilliard-schooled pianist was playing the works of composer Glenn Gould, and Bach was almost trite - three centuries past and hard to interpret in any new way. Then, Dinnerstein studied with Peter Serkin, who got her interested in Bach, and her whole idea of the German master mutated to the good. "His music, to me, is the ultimate combination of being incredibly well-crafted and mind-boggling in complexity," said Dinnerstein.