Friday, March 18, 2011
I went last night to Mondavi Center to hear Bach's B Minor Mass by the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus under the baton of Ragnar Bohlin, the new choral director at the symphony.
About 15 minutes in I began to wish I was listening to Nicholas McGegan. It never rose above the level of OK. The chorus was seriously unbalanced toward the treble with no discernible bass.
Tempos were brisk, like the singers and the orchestra were racing each other to see who could get to the end faster. Thank you for that.
They all used German style pronunciation for their Latin instead of the traditional Italian: qui was kvi instead of kwi, agnus instead of anyus, that sort of thing. I suppose the traditional Italian pronunciation has vanished from memory to be replaced by correctness.
Justify your correctness with passion. It was all abysmally BORING. Robert Shaw is rolling over in his grave. Look. Bach is a very exciting composer. This was about as exciting as a dish of Swedish meatballs.