Bach for More

At the 2004 Bethlehem Bach Festival, which runs this weekend and next (May 8-9 and May 14-15), no one is busier than Larry Lipkis, professor of music and composer-in-residence, who has a quadripartite role in the festival.

He is, first, a performer. He plays viola da gamba in Cantata 106, a chamber-sized work on the 4:00 p.m. Friday afternoon cantata concerts in Packer Chapel at Lehigh University. His wife, Linda, is in the 16-member vocal ensemble that sings this work.

Then Larry zips back to Moravian to be the dinner speaker for those going on to the cantata concert at 8:30 p.m. in Packer Chapel. They’ll eat at 6:00 p.m. in the South Campus dining hall while Larry talks about the works to come. He also brings the wine, a tradition whose origins are lost in the mists of time.

He’s also part of the Baltimore Consort, an outstanding early music group featured in “Chamber Music in the Saal,” an intimate concert at the Moravian Museum, 66 Church St., Bethlehem, 10:30 a.m. Saturdays.

The consort’s program is called “Bach, Buxtehude, and the Boys” and is focused on Lutheran predecessors of Bach in the music business.

These include Erasmus Widmann, Johann Stadlmayr, Johann Hermann Schein, and Michael Praetorius, late 16th-century composers who died before Bach was born. Dietrich Buxtehude was the great Danish organist whom the young Bach walked from Arnstadt to Lübeck to hear in 1706—a journey of 250 miles, which took him 10 days. The rest of this program includes works by Bach that pay homage—sometimes serious, sometimes funny—to these composers. It ends with “Wir gehn nun wo der Tudelsack” (“We go wherever the dudelsack [bagpipe] takes us”) from the Peasant Cantata, which gives the consort a chance to show its earthy side.

At the same hour, Larry’s orchestral work “Apotheosis,” composed to honor Bach’s tercentenary in 1985 and premiered at the Bach Festival in 1986, will be played on the Ifor Jones Memorial Concert in Baker Hall, Zoellner Arts Center, Lehigh. “Unless some great advances are made in cloning in the next week,” Larry says, he will have to hear his homage to Bach at its dress rehearsal.

“Apotheosis” is paired with another Bach-inspired contemporary work, Libby Larsen’s “I It Am” cantata, based on the writings of Julian of Norwich. Also on the program: Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 and Orchestral Suite No. 3.

Carol Traupman-Carr ’86 continues to supply online program notes for the festival repertory, though this year, with Commencement and the Bach Festival piled atop each other, it’s a wonder she had time. She promises that her notes, which can be accessed at http://www.bach.org, are very colorful.

Finally, we recommend the Distinguished Scholar Lecture at 2:00 p.m. Friday in Packer Chapel. The lecturer is Bach expert Michael Marissen of Swarthmore College, who will speak on “The Spiritual World of Bach’s Cantatas.”

The Bach Choir treats Moravian faculty and students to half-price tickets (even on the already discounted student tickets). Information: 610 866-4382. Complete festival calendar and tickets: www.bach.org.

May 4, 2004

A Good Report Card:
Education Department passes state review with flying colors.

What a Racket:
Jason Toedter '04 is first ever from Moravian to win conference men's singles championship.

Six Degrees of Separation:
There's another branch of the von Allmen family -- also in Business and Economics.

Bach for More:
The 2004 Bethlehem Bach Festival features composer-in-residence Larry Lipkis in four roles.

Award:
Jon Conrad wins award from Red Cross.
Datebook:
Campus calendar.
Gaudeamus:
Faculty/staff/student accomplishments.