Johann Sebastian Bach is recognized today as one of the great geniuses of the Western Canon. While his instrumental works (including solo suites, the Well-Tempered Clavier, Goldberg Variations, and Brandenburg Concerti) are widely performed and appreciated, his vocal works present distinct challenges to any listener.
Composed in the early 18th century, this music is sung in German, and steeped in the liturgical traditions of Pietist Lutheranism. Moreover, the music we encounter is complex, polyphonic, often featuring unusual harmonic twists and nuanced text-setting. During this program, Professor Gil Harel will lead us on a tour of Bach's flagship vocal works: the cantatas. As we will discover, these pieces are wildly diverse in sound and mood, and analyzing them is both a challenging and deeply rewarding experience.
About Gil Harel
Gil Harel (PhD, Brandeis University) is a musicologist and music theorist whose interests include styles ranging from western classical repertoire to jazz and musical theater. Previously, he served on the faculty at CUNY Baruch College (where he was awarded the prestigious "Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Teaching").
Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Music at Naugatuck Valley Community College, where he has been presented with the AFT "Merit Award for Exemplary Service to the College" for 4 consecutive years. In 2020, he was honored with the coveted Connecticut Board of Regents (BOR) Teaching Award. At NVCC, Dr. Harel conducts the college chorale, a cappella ensemble, teaches music history and theory, and serves as musical director of theater productions.