The music of Bach, Handel, Purcell and Vivaldi, among scores of others in the Baroque genre, continues to thrive in Bethlehem.
With two new compact disc releases, the music of Bach and Handel can make a joyful noise in your home or on your way to work, too.
The Bach Choir of Bethlehem and Bach Festival Orchestra announced the release of two new compact disc recordings under its recording label, Analekta Music.
The choir, festival orchestra soloists and guest soloists are featured on recordings of J.S. Bach’s “Cantata BWV 21 Ich Hatte Viel Bekümmernis (“I had much grief”) and arias from “Cantatas 120 and 76”; and Handel’s “Ode for Saint Cecilia’s Day.”
Saint Cecilia is the patron saint of music.
“We are very excited about the release of these two new recordings and our ongoing relationship with Analekta, Canada’s premiere recording company,” said Greg Funfgeld, Bach Choir conductor and artistic director.
“The Bach recording includes ‘Cantata 21,’ one of Bach’s greatest and most beloved Cantatas – a perennial favorite of the singers in The Bach Choir,” Funfgeld said.
The recordings celebrate the 120th anniversary of the Bach Choir and Funfgeld’s 35-year tenure.
A special double CD set includes a booklet commemorating the Bach Choir’s history, including Funfgeld’s direction for more than three decades.
Recordings are available on the Bach Choir website bach.org, as well as through Amazon, Apple iTunes, Spotify, and Barnes and Noble, among others retail outlets.
And while most of us spend our days listening to recorded music, there’s nothing like a live performance.
Bach at Noon, a popular series, which runs the second Tuesday of the month through April, offers a respite from work over the lunch hour, and it’s free of charge. Free-will donations are welcome.
Concerts feature the Bach Choir and Festival Orchestra, as well as internationally known soloists.
As education is a mission of the Bach Choir, Funfgeld always provides historical as well as musical context for Bach at Noon audiences. He offers insights and little-known anecdotes, which breathe life into the music while making the composers real and relatable.
Concerts begin at 12:10 p.m. and finish at 1 p.m. They’re held inside the sanctuary of Central Moravian Church, 73 W. Church St., Bethlehem.
During July and August, Bach at Noon moves performances to St. John’s Lutheran Church, South 5th Street, Allentown.
The oldest Bach Choir in America, it began performances of Bach’s “Mass in B Minor” and “Christmas Oratorio” after its founding in 1898.
The Bach Choir’s annual Bethlehem Bach Festival will be held May 10 and 11 and May 17 to 19, on the main campus of Lehigh University.
Described as “the heart of our season,” the Bethlehem Bach Festival brings world-class soloists to its festival as well as providing performance opportunities to young people, through concerts, education through discussion and lectors, and Zimmermann’s Coffee House young performer evenings.
Zimmermann’s Coffee House in Bethlehem is a relaxed event modeled after similar venues during Bach’s time in Leipzig, Germany. It brings music and spaetzle to Peter (pronounced PAY ter) Hall at Moravian College.
High school and college age performers audition for a spot on the program.
For information about Bach at Noon, as well as Bach Choir of Bethlehem performances and open auditions, visit bach.org or call 610-866-4382.