Put Your Bach Into It

By Greg Mellen, Long Beach Register
February 14, 2014

Bach lovers, your time has arrived. On Saturday, the 40th annual Long Beach Bach Festival, featuring and sponsored by the Long Beach Camerata Singers, will open at the California Heights Methodist Church.
This year, the popular festival includes five weekend concerts between Saturday and April 4.
According to Rob Istad, artistic director for the Camerata singers, Bach “laid the foundation for what we now know as Western music.”

To celebrate the milestone, Istad said he wanted to present Bach “in a uniquely Long Beach way.”

“I wanted to create a festival that reflects the diversity of Long Beach,” Istad said.

To do that, he helped create a festival that extends from youth singer to a Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist. And he saved for the Camerata Singers, one of Bach’s greatest masterpieces, the “St. John Passion,” which tells the story of Jesus’ passion, according the Book of John in the Bible.

“It is about the closest thing to opera that Bach wrote,” Istad said, and for it he hired six soloists to perform with the choir.

A highlight will be “Jesu Meine Freude” or “Jesus My Joy,” a complex and demanding funereal choral piece written by Johann Sebastian Bach in the 1720s. It is designed for five voices. Future performances will be at a variety of venues.

Information: 562-522-1045.

Contact the writer: gmellen@lbregister.com