Choral Arts Philadelphia And The Bach Festival Presents CHRISTMAS ORATORIO, Today
Choral Arts Philadelphia, accompanied by the Philadelphia Bach Collegium, led by Artistic Director Matthew Glandorf, present a rare historically informed performance of J.S. Bach's Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248 (Christmas Oratorio). The late afternoon festive concert is hosted by Marvin Rosen (host of "Classical Discoveries" at WPRB, Princeton NJ) and takes place at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, 38th and Chestnut Streets, 4-8 PM, with extended intermission.
WHAT: J.S. Bach "Christmas Oratorio" BWV 248 in six parts
WHEN: Saturday, December 31, 4-8 PM
WHERE: Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, 38th & Chestnut Streets, 19104
Buy online at www.choralarts.com or at the door.
Since 2013, Glandorf has introduced many Philadelphians to myriad rarely heard and well-known Bach cantatas as part of the popular Bach At Seven Cantata Series. In the current season, Choral Arts has embarked to perform all of Bach's surviving works from his most creative time at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig as part of the 1734-1735: A Season in the Life of Bach series. On the New Year's Eve 2016, the ensemble will bring, for the second time since 2014, one of J.S. Bach's lesser known yet monumental works, appropriate for the Season.
Compiled and premiered in Leipzig during the major Feast Days of Christmastide 1734, Christmas Oratorio is a natural addition to Choral Arts' season lineup. In addition, Glandorf reveals, "a generous supporter was so taken with our premiere performance in 2014 that he came forward and offered a challenge grant to have the event repeated in 2016."
Christmas Oratorio is, in actuality, a collection of six cantatas, that together present a continuing narrative of the Christmas story as told in the Gospels of St. Matthew, St. Luke and St. John. It ranks along with the two great Passions, St. John and St. Matthew, in drama, inventiveness and beauty, according to Glandorf.
However, it's rarely heard complete, at least in the United States, due to many programming challenges for any musical organization. Since the six cantatas of the Oratorio were originally performed one per day, the instrumentation is different for each one of them. Additionally, the work has particularly virtuosic choral and solo writing, making the piece inaccessible to many choirs. "Although it would be a challenge for us trying to perform it every year," Glandorf said, "I like the idea that it could become a regular piece of repertoire for Choral Arts."
All solo and duet parts will be sung by the professional core members of Choral Arts, with tenor James Reese as Evangelist (The Crossing, Holy Trinity Bach Vespers, Chicago Bach Project).
"I find the idea of a New Year's Eve concert, post Christmas Day, a lovely way to 'begin afresh'." Glandorf commented. "It is a real pleasure to offer an event that can defy traditional patterns and find a foothold in our city's diverse cultural landscape."
Choral Arts Philadelphia is premier 40-voice chamber chorus consisting of a core of professional singers mixed with highly experienced volunteer members. The ensemble presents high quality yet accessible concert experiences that delight and engage the audiences while contributing to their appreciation of the repertoire. Led by artistic director Matthew Glandorf, Choral Arts Philadelphia is committed to musical excellence and to furthering the great tradition of choral music. Choral Arts and its project, the Bach Festival of Philadelphia, along with its professional resident instrumental ensemble of period instruments, the Philadelphia Bach Collegium, celebrate the life and music of J.S. Bach with programs focused on his works and related repertoire, presented in the traditions of well-researched, historically informed performance practice. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (267) 240-2586, online at www.choralarts.com and www.bachfestphila.org .
(Photo Credit: Choral Arts Philadelphia)