J.S. Bach’s unconventional Christmas Oratorio (Weihnachts-Oratorium), composed in 1733 and 1734, is less known than his other major works, and it showcases the composer's innovation and resourcefulness. WRTI's Susan Lewis reports.
We hear a lot about Baroque composers J.S. Bach and George Frideric Handel, but what about Georg Philipp Telemann? He was, after all, a German composer of the same era who was even more famous than Bach in his day.
J.S. Bach’s second-surviving son, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788), was a musical force in his own right. His fame, at least after the mid-1700s, overshadowed that of his now-legendary father and the musical footprint of this German genius reaches far beyond his native Weimar.
Mozart mentioned in a letter to his father that he wanted to write a mass for his new wife Constanze, who was a soprano. “But there was no commission,” says Temple University music history professor Steven Zohn. “It’s not usual for him to write something on spec or just because he wanted to write something that showed the love for his wife.”
Falling off the podium or into the orchestra pit weren’t the occupational hazards befalling French Baroque composer Jean-Baptiste Lully - but his was no less risky. Temple University Professor Steven Zohn, an expert in Baroque music, recounts the conducting move that led to Lully’s death.
George Frideric Handel was born in Germany in 1685, and moved to Britain as a young man. He spent his most productive years there, and became a naturalized British subject in his early 40s. His now-famous Water Music suites,commissioned for King George I for a ceremonial boat ride on the River Thames in London, were first performed during the summer of 1717.
Today, J. S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos are among the most popular pieces from the Baroque era. WRTI’s Susan Lewis explores the mystery in the story of the famous concertos.
On Sunday, August 11th at 2 pm, WRTI will broadcast a recorded live concert featuring The Philadelphia Orchestra performing three of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, his Double Violin Concerto, and his Orchestral Suite No. 3.
Listen to Susan’s interview with Temple University Music Professor Steven Zohn about the mystery and ongoing appeal of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos.