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

MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…

Local

NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…

Local

Bushwick community space offers activists a place to…

A new Bushwick community space offers community activists to meet, create, learn and throw back a few cold ones. MayDay, located 214 Starr Street in Bushwick,…

Local

Activists gearing up for Sunday's "historic" People's Climate…

If all goes according to plan, more than 100,000 people will gather near Central Park West on Sunday morning and march through midtown to raise…

Movies

Kevin Smith makes peace with the Internet

I was thinking about Ain't It Cool News and Harry Knowles last night, wondering if anyone from Ain't It Cool had reviewed my new movie…

Movies

Art imitates life in 'Swim Little Fish Swim'

There's a certain comfort to be taken in finding that young artists are still moving to New York and trying to make it — and…

Movies

Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and a being called Emily get…

Esperanza Spalding is about to spiral off in a brand new direction that may or may include an alter ego named Emily.

NFL

Oday Aboushi ready for increased role, and to…

Oday Aboushi might feel comfortable enough to engage in some trash talk the next time he is on the field.

NFL

Giants vs. Texans: 3 things to watch

The Giants host the surprising Texans (2-0) in what may already be a must-win game for Big Blue.

NFL

Eric Decker misses practice again, could miss Monday

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker missed practice Thursday as he continues to rehab a hamstring injury suffered last Sunday.

MLB

Derek Jeter still focused on baseball as final…

Derek Jeter has effectively hid his emotions for 20 years in the Bronx.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.

Style

3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…