A few notes on Bach Concert Series's 'St. Matthew Passion'
I stopped by Christ Lutheran Church Sunday afternoon for Part II of the "St. Matthew Passion" in a presentation by the Bach Concert Series. It was good to be in the presence again of Bach's profound music, even if there were some drawbacks to the realization.
Conductor T. Herbert Dimmock did not always keep his forces on track. But he ensured that many of the score's most dramatic moments, such as the shocking cry of "Barabas" from the choir, registered strongly, and he shaped the chorales quite sensitively.
The chorus needed greater clarity of articulation in the busiest contrapuntal passages, and could have used more actual tenors and firmer basses. At their best, though, the choristers came through with enough sonic and expressive weight.
Half the soloists ...
lacked consistency of technique and/or tone. The others, though, proved rewarding. Baritone Benjamin Park's warm sound and eloquent phrasing made "Mache dich, mein Herze, rein" a highpoint. Likewise, Monica Reinagel's richly communicative singing made the alto solos glow tellingly. Soprano Jennifer Young's sweet tone proved a boon.
The orchestra occasionally turned slippery, but also contributed mightily to the experience overall, with particularly elegant work from the concertmaster and wind soloists.