Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantatas have inspired a variety of presentations by choral, theater, and opera directors, but rarely do audiences have an opportunity to experience a complete cycle of cantatas in their originally intended format. Choral Arts Philadelphia’s ongoing Center-funded project 1734–1735: A Season in the Life of J.S. Bach offers just that, with the recreation of 18 of Bach’s cantatas, performed in an arc spanning the Christian church calendar and secular seasons.
Next up in the series is a February 15 concert featuring renditions of Cantata 14: Wär Gott nicht mit uns (Were God not with us) and Cantata 147: Herz und Mund und Tat und leben (Heart and Mouth Deed and Life), and a talk by artistic director Matthew Glandorf on “The Power of Bach’s Cantatas.”
In the project’s program book, Hannelore N. Rogers writes of Bach’s remarkable creative output: “Bach’s grueling workload might have felled a less determined man – a cantata every Sunday and Christian feast day – a cycle of about 60 a year. During his tenure in Leipzig, he produced five such cycles, of which only the first three have come down more or less intact.”
Glandorf says that Choral Arts decided several years ago to make the sacred cantatas of Bach the chorus’ primary focus. “Although we perform other music, this unique repertoire and focus on one composer gives our singers a unique opportunity of specialization that also informs the other repertoire we perform, while creating a unique sound that distinguishes Choral Arts from other choruses in the region,” Glandorf explains.
“I believe the music and the themes upon which they touch clearly still speak to audiences today—themes such as love, death, loss, faith, life’s trials and joys, but to name a few,” he says. “J.S. Bach is universally considered one of the most influential composers in the history of western music. The fact that the majority of his output is rarely heard is a great opportunity. I think the marriage of pairing the cantatas in a seasonal context in the format of short, mid-week concerts is a way to keep this wonderful repertoire alive and relevant beyond its liturgical conception.”
All concerts take place at 7 p.m. at St. Clement’s Episcopal Church, and are pay-what-you-wish with a suggested donation of $20. Learn more.>>
Alma Ruiz is a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, where she has curated numerous exhibitions.
Arden Theatre Company premieres a new adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters, the culmination of a two-year exploration into the playwright and his work.
Max Apple (Pew Fellow, 2010) has been described as a “writer’s writer,” a dedicated author of short fiction who writes with precision and control.
Over its 18-year history, Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) Lively Arts Series has engaged local and national artists to share their work with the college and surrounding Blue Bell community.
In 2000 the Center awarded Pew Fellowships to 12 Philadelphia-based artists, and grants to 47 dance, music, theater, and visual arts organizations and practitioners in the greater Philadelphia region.
In Terms of Performance features essays and interviews from more than 50 prominent artists, curators, presenters, and scholars who reflect on common yet contested terms in contemporary cultural practice.
The company is dedicated to making critically important performance opportunities available to the current generation of opera and theatrical performers, designers, and directors.
What inspires our imaginations and catalyzes our creativity? As we bid farewell to 2014, we asked members of our cultural community to share something that inspired them this year.
FringeArts presented the Philadelphia premieres of Jérôme Bel’s The Show Must Go On and Jan Fabre’s Another Sleepy Dusty Delta Day in the 2008 Philadelphia Live Arts Festival.
In 2002 the Center awarded Pew Fellowships to 12 Philadelphia-based artists, and grants to 57 dance, music, theater, and visual arts organizations and practitioners in the greater Philadelphia region.
Philadelphia’s own Pig Iron Theatre Company premieres their Center-funded, Charles Ludlam-inspired piece at the prestigious Humana Festival in Louisville, KY.
The Painted Bride Art Center presented the Philadelphia debut of the Dave Holland Big Band in a program featuring new works by the eponymous bassist and composer.