Just Nathan

A musical offering, in parts
March 22, 2003
Matthew Passion

I went to a performance of Bach's St Matthew Passion at St John's College this evening. It was sung by a local choir, in which Robin and Yvonne are leading lights.

I last saw this piece performed at the Royal Festival Hall a couple of years ago. The orchestra and chorus was led by Andras Schiff. It was so long, so opaque and so dreary that I was put off the music. The story is urgent and dramatic - today's performance carried some of that feeling.

Chapel at St. John's College

The setting was superb. I was quite enclosed in a high wooden pew, able to look through the gap at the performers in front of me. Looking around the chapel, I faced the magnificent new organ and the frieze of Christ and his disciples on the ceiling. The piece was far too long - and for me that's its downfall - it loses impact and urgency in favour of stateliness and grandeur of the set pieces. Nevertheless, it was an interesting evening in a near-perfect setting.

Posted by nathan at March 22, 2003 11:29 PM

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