Bach Festival of Philadelphia adds a modern twist

Matthew Glandorf’s concert will kick off the Bach Festival. (PHOTO CREDIT: Alexander Iziliaev)

When Matthew Glandorf sits down at the pipe organ at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Sunday to open this year’s Bach Festival of Philadelphia, he won’t be reaching back to the 18th century for his material. In fact, what he plays won’t have been composed until the moment he begins to play.

“I’m starting with an improvisation concert that will encompass three different centuries of style,” says Glandorf, artistic director for the festival and for Choral Arts Philadelphia, who will perform in the styles of Bach’s forebears, the composer himself, and in a more contemporary vein. “It’s almost like channeling to emulate the various styles.”

Glandorf’s performance, “Bach and the Art of Improvisation,” may run counter to people’s expectations from a classical music festival, but it would seem very familiar to the honoree himself. “Bach was a renowned improviser,” Glandorf says, “hailed not only by his colleagues but by people like Frederick the Great who were amazed by his abilities. It’s a skill that was required of professional musicians, especially organists, in the 17th and 18th century.”

The remainder of the festival’s 37th season focuses on several different aspects of Bach’s music, culminating in his magnum opus, the Mass in B-Minor, featuring Choral Arts Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Bach Collegium. Next Saturday, the four principal players of the Collegium will perform an afternoon of chamber music, and Piffaro, the Renaissance Band will present a program of Bach works based on familiar tunes and chorales from the late 15th to the early 18th century, performed on period instruments.

“A modern orchestra is very smooth and has a round, voluptuous sound,” says Glandorf. “Early instruments are a little bit more dynamic, a little more exciting, have more of an edge to the sound.”

Like Glandorf’s era-spanning improvisations, such performances offer a bridge between past and present that he says is always found in Bach’s music. “Bach is of the 18th century, but his music steps out of that century and is universal in its expression. I liken it to Shakespeare, where there are these universal themes that speak to every generation. That’s one of the reasons why Bach’s music continues to capture the imagination.”

Bach Festival of Philadelphia 2013
April 28-May 5
$10-$50, 267-240-2586
www.choralarts.com/bachfestival


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

VIDEO: Police seek suspect in molotov cocktail attack…

Police released surveillance video on Wednesday in hopes of tracking down a man who threw a molotov cocktail inside a Brooklyn corner store.

Local

City Council budget asks for 1,000 additional NYPD…

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito unveiled the City Council's budget priorities on Wednesday, including the extra cops for the NYPD at a cost of $94.3 million.

Local

Reddit helps man locate missing mother in New…

The Reddit community helped Josh Goldberg find his missing mother on Tuesday.

National

Hamas, Abbas's PLO announce reconciliation agreement

The Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed on Wednesday to a unity pact.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 9

It was only an hour-long episode, but there's a lot to cover this week. The drama of Survivor strikes again as the identity of the…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.

Books

A debut novel about fate, love and moving…

Pia Padukone talks about her debut novel, "Where Earth Meets Water."

NFL

Giants 2014 regular season schedule

The Giants will play five prime-time games — against the Lions, Redskins, Eagles, Colts and Cowboys.

MLB

Jets 2014 regular season schedule

The Jets will play three prime-time games — against the Bears, Patriots and Dolphins — as well as a CBS national game in Week 2 at Green Bay.

NBA

Phil Jackson talked to Steve Kerr, pushes for…

Knicks president Phil Jackson spoke to the media for the first time since firing head coach Mike Woodson on Monday.

MLB

Fantasy baseball: Searching for early season prospects

It’s relatively rare for a mediocre 30-year-old hitter to suddenly go nuts offensively for 162 games. That’s why minor league prospects are so exciting.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."