Tuesday, March 03, 2015

St Matthew Passion by ABS

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.

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