Tuesday, February 27, 2018

St. John Passion in Davis

Jeffrey Thomas conductor

Remember when I said about the motets concert by American Bach Soloists last April, "Choosing to play all of them on one program would have to do with generating a CD, probably." You probably don't remember it. Well now there is a CD called Bach's Motets for Double Chorus from American Bach Soloists based on the this concert.  It was an easy prediction.

Last night they performed Bach's St John Passion.  This is a repeat from 5 years ago but is probably a different version of the work.   Apparently Bach performed his Saint John Passion four different times over the years in four different arrangements.

I want to be sure to mention the soloists.  The first four form the narrative from the gospel. Several also are from the chorus.

Aaron Sheehan, tenor, Evangelista
Jesse Blumberg, baritone, Christus
Bryan Jolly, baritone, Pilatus, chorus
Jefferson Packer, bass, Petrus, chorus
Robin Bier, contralto, chorus
Hélène Brunet, soprano, chorus
Stephen Brennfleck, tenor, chorus

All did a fine job, with very minor suggestions about the German diction.  I especially liked Robin Bier, contralto.  Her voice and style are very beautiful.

The work was performed in German with a translation provided.  I was curious to read that in English Barrabam is a thief while in German he is a murderer.  One might wish to have a theological discussion concerning the Bible in German.

The chorus is very strong for such a small group.  The maestro kept the pacing quick without seeming rushed.

I never get the final chorus I want so I'll just put it here.

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