The Oregon Bach Festival announced that it has expanded its online Digital Bach Project with a section devoted to the St. Matthew Passion. The new section launched at the site,, on March 21, Bach’s birthday; it incorporates video of conductor Helmuth Rilling’s complete St. Matthew lecture-concerts for the festival, as well as poetry, artwork, photography, and scholarship devoted to the work. Visitors to the site can follow a visual representation of a 1681 Bible edited and annotated by theologian Abraham Calov, and match it against Bach’s libretto. “All the elements relate to Passion music’s place in the Lutheran liturgy and how Bach’s congregation might have heard the work,” said music theorist Tim Smith, the site’s editor. This summer will mark the final season for Artistic Director Helmuth Rilling, who founded the festival in 1970. Already at the Digital Bach site are sections devoted to Bach’s Mass in B minor and the Goldberg Variations. Matthew Halls will succeed Rilling as artistic director at the conclusion of this year’s Oregon Bach Festival, on July 14.  

Posted March 27, 2013