Arts and Entertainment

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra to reveal composer’s inspiring artisans March 2

Canadian ensemble to perform ‘J. S. Bach: The Circle of Creation’ at Schwab Auditorium

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra returns to Penn State with its multimedia production of “J. S. Bach: The Circle of Creation” at 7:30 p.m. March 2 in Schwab Auditorium. The ensemble performs, by memory, selected works by Bach while images and video, which explore the artisans who contributed to the composer’s creative process, are projected on a screen above the stage. Credit: Glenn DavidsonAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Toronto’s Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, an internationally famous period-music ensemble, will return to Penn State with its latest multimedia production, “J. S. Bach: The Circle of Creation,” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 2, in Schwab Auditorium.

“The Circle of Creation,” created by Tafelmusik double bassist Alison Mackay, combines text, music and background imagery to explore the inner circle of artisans who assisted Bach through his creative process. The production recognizes the numerous papermakers, instrument craftsmen, string spinners and performers who helped Bach to realize his genius — all in a program featuring the German-born composer’s works performed by memory.

In an interview with arts critic James Strecker, Mackay described the audio-visual experience as enchanting and informational.

“We learn how Bach made his ink and began composing by ruling lines on a page with a five-pointed ‘rastrum’ to make manuscript paper,” she said. “We’ll see amazing footage of gut strings being made from sheep intestines and the inner workings of harpsichord jacks.”

In the hands of the orchestra, “Bach’s music feels more alive than ever,” wrote a critic for Toronto’s Globe and Mail.

For more information about the production, visit the Center for the Performing Arts online or call 814-863-0255.

Watch Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra perform an excerpt from “J. S. Bach: The Circle of Creation.” Credit: Tafelmusik

Program creator Alison Mackay discusses the story behind Tafelmusik’s “J. S. Bach: The Circle of Creation.” Credit: Tafelmusik

Watch Tafelmusik perform an excerpt from “J. S. Bach: The Circle of Creation.”

Mackay discusses the story behind the program.

The orchestra, founded in 1979, specializes in performing historically accurate performances using period techniques and instruments. The ensemble performs more than 50 concerts for its annual subscription season at Toronto’s historic Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church.

Through extensive tours, renowned recordings, television broadcasts and new media initiatives, Tafelmusik is one of the most prolific orchestras on the planet. The orchestra’s independent music label, Tafelmusik Media, features new digital, live performance, and studio CD and DVD recordings. It also re-releases previous Tafelmusik recordings from Sony Classical and CBC Records.

Tafelmusik performed two other Mackay multimedia creations — “House of Dreams” and “The Galileo Project: Music of the Spheres” — at Penn State in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

Helen A. Harvey sponsors the March 2 performance. The Pieter and Lida Ouwehand Endowment provides support. WPSU is the media sponsor.

This presentation is a component of the Center for the Performing Arts Classical Music Project. With support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the project provides opportunities to engage students, faculty and the community with classical music artists and programs.

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Last Updated February 06, 2017