J.S. Bach

J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion is a monumental oratorio that fell into obscurity for decades after Bach's death in 1750. Composer Felix Mendelssohn's production of the work in 1829 helped spark the modern Bach revival. Susan Lewis considers Bach’s life and work.

J.S. Bach was born more than three centuries ago, yet contemporary musicians continue to mine riches from his music. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, award-winning violinist Gil Shaham finds Bach connections in everything he plays.

The St. Matthew Passion is revered today as one of the great masterpieces of the choral repertoire. But along with much of Bach’s vast output, it sank into obscurity in the decades following his death in 1750.

At the age of 13, Felix Mendelssohn was given a copy of Bach’s Passion as a Christmas gift. He fell in love with it. Seven years later in 1829, he presented a performance of the work in his own arrangement, changing some orchestration and making cuts to several sections.

Yannick Nezet-Seguin conducts one of the supreme monuments in Western music, and the work that initiated the great rediscovery of Bach’s music when the 20-year-old Felix Mendelssohn conducted it in Berlin in 1829 – the St. Matthew Passion.

What Did Bach Sound Like In The Time of Mendelssohn?

Mar 30, 2015

Musicians have struggled to determine what J.S. Bach sounded like in his own time for decades. As The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns reports, The Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia turned back the clock in a different direction on February 8th at Girard College, determining what Bach sounded like in the time of...Mendelssohn.

In recent years, J. S. Bach's music has been embraced by period performers, and played less frequently by big symphony orchestras. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, The Philadelphia Orchestra takes a very modern - yet historical - approach to his music in WRTI's Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast on Sunday, February 22 at 1 pm.

The broadcast also features Bach’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and music of Strauss and Mahler.

Join WRTI on Good Friday at noon, for a complete performance of Johann Sebastian Bach's St. John Passion, a work written for Good Friday Vespers service of 1724 in Leipzig. This performance was recorded in concert on Good Friday in 2013 in the Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center.

Valentin Radu conducts his Ama Deus Ensemble and features soprano Megan Monaghan, alto Jody Kidwell, tenor Kenneth Garner, and bass-baritone Kevin Deas, and The Philadelphia Boys Choir. This performance is sung in English.

The Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 of Johann Sebastian Bach, performed by the Swiss Baroque Soloists, is featured on CD 1 in the WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set.

The six instrumental works presented by Bach to Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt in 1721 are among the finest musical compositions of the Baroque era. The Third in the set is scored for three violins, three violas, three cellos, and basso continuo, including harpsichord. The Margrave not only never paid Bach for his work, but he failed even to thank him. This third concerto is a highlight of one of the happiest and most productive periods in Bach's life.

Even though he didn't call them the "Brandenburgs" himself, Bach still thought of them as a set. Compiled from short instrumental sinfonias and concerto movements he had already written, Bach re-worked the old music, often re-writing and elaborating where he saw fit, and creating in the process some of the most brilliant and enjoyable of any of his works.

Bach specialist Nicholas McGegan conducts The Philadelphia Orchestra this Sunday, May 19th, 2 to 4 pm, in an all-Bach concert - bringing a special touch to the Orchestra, and throwing the spotlight on several Philadelphia Orchestra soloists.

Concertmaster David Kim, Principal Oboist Richard Woodhams, Principal Horn Jennifer Montone, and Principal Flute Jeffrey Khaner are just some of the stellar players of the Orchestra who will play major roles in a program including:

Listen to our annual broadcast of Johann Sebastian Bach's St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 on Good Friday, March 29th, a few minutes after 12 noon.

The recording features Karl Richter conducting the Munich Bach Orchestra, Munich Bach Choir, and Regensburg Cathedral Choir. Edith Mathis (Soprano), Dame Janet Baker (Mezzo Soprano), Peter Schreier (Tenor), Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Baritone), and Matti Salminen (Bass).

Happy Easter from WRTI!
 

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