by Matthew Glandorf
In order to talk about the so-called “Historically Informed Performance Practice” movement that began roughly in the second half of the 20th century, we need to go back to the mid 19th century and before. Music, like fashion or film, has been in constant demand, with style and tastes changing quite rapidly.
In the Renaissance and early Baroque periods, the notion of performing music that was more than 20 years old was virtually unheard of (with a few notable exceptions). However, with the Romantic era in full swing, it was a performance of the J.S. Bach St. Matthew Passion (March 11, 1829) by the young Felix Mendelssohn that changed the course of public performance.
This New Years’ Eve, I have the honor of performing the evangelist in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with Choral Arts Philadelphia, under the direction of Matthew Glandorf. I am thrilled to take on this role, and I am grateful to Matt and Choral Arts for this opportunity. This will be my first performance of one of the crown jewels of tenor repertoire.
For a young tenor, learning the evangelist roles from Bach’s major vocal works is a rite of passage. The endeavor of preparing an evangelist role is one full of tradition and lineage. Both of my teachers, James Taylor and Kurt Hansen, are first-rate evangelists and storytellers. When we consider their teachers, then those teachers’ teachers, and so on, we come to a startling realization: only about six generations of evangelists separate today’s young singers from Bach’s own original tenor. The result is a sort of oral history passed down from Bach’s time which still informs how we portray the evangelist today.
Three questions to artistic director - ahead of the encore performance of j.s. bach "christmas oratorio"
By Matthew Glandorf
The word “cantata” is derived from the Italian word “cantare”, which means a work that is sung. This is in opposition to the word “sonata” (Italian “sonare”), which means a piece that sounds and therefore is instrumental.
The tradition of the 17th-century cantata in Italy and France was usually secular in nature and could combine elements of recitative, which is a type of music that follows the contour of recited speech and rhythm, with aria, usually according to a poetic meter. The compositional style of the cantata is mainly taken from the forms encountered in opera. Mythological stories were usually the subject matter such as those of Orpheus, Medea or Hercules.
Interview with Chelsea Majuri, a Graphic Designer at GDLOFT
The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage (“the Center”) announced today that Choral Arts Philadelphia has been awarded a 2016 Project Grant, to support Choral Arts’ presentation of 1734-1735: A Season in the Life of J.S. Bach, a recreation of 18 rarely-performed Bach Cantatas.
The cantatas will be performed over the course of Choral Arts' 2016-2017 concert season in an arc spanning the Christian church calendar and the seasons, as originally intended by J.S. Bach.
For more information about the 2016 Project Grants, click here.