This Sunday (April 3) Associate Professor of Music Thomas Lloyd, who is on sabbatical from the College this year, will conduct Bach’s three-hour St. Matthew Passion for the first time. The Bucks County Choral Society, of which Lloyd is the artistic director, will perform the piece at 7:30 p.m. at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Doylestown.
To prepare listeners for this rare and epic performance—the lengthy score calls for double orchestra and two choirs—Lloyd has been sharing what he calls “living program notes” to educate them about the historical and philosophical context of the music and engage them in the rehearsal process. The living program notes consist of a series of YouTube videos that include clips of backstage peeks at BCCS preparing the music for this concert and various live performances of different movements. But mainly, they are videos of Lloyd, alone and seated at his home piano, teaching, playing and analyzing different sections of the mammoth piece of music.
By engaging with new technologies Lloyd is hoping to reach a broader audience. But one thing is already certain: while this ambitious baroque work could be daunting for a performer, Lloyd and his “live program notes” have made sure that it won’t be daunting for a listener.