The original instruments movement seems to be everywhere. One of the fun things is to see such a wide variety of musical instruments. In Monday night's performance in Davis by the American Bach Soloists of the Bach St. Matthew Passion, performed in German, there was a viola da gamba and wooden flutes. Perhaps I should keep a list.
This was also the first time I have seen them use a female mezzo soprano, Agnes Vojtko. She was good but in the modern style which lacks legato.
I love this work, but it's very long. The tempos were brisk, in part to make it all not last too long into the night. This would not bother some people.
I particularly enjoyed the evangelist, Derek Chester, and Christus, William Sharp. They carry the main burden in a passion.
The choral work was also outstanding. In the opening chorus, an extended chorale, they easily carried the idea of a double chorus with about 14 singers. The chorale melody was sung by a boys' choir that appeared only for a few of the choruses. They were also excellent. They are small groups that produce a large sound.
I am happy with the modern brisk leggiero performance style, but not all the time on every number.
Artist of the Week: Pene Pati
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