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
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.