Sunday, 3 April 2016

Sprechen Sie Deutsch? (CBSO/Ex Cathedra/Passion)

JS Bach, St Matthew Passion (Jeffrey Skidmore cond. CBSO and Ex Cathedra)

Spring sunshine

It did occur to me, as I sat out in the balmy sunshine why someone of no religion kept giving up perfectly good spring afternoons to hear religious music. For music like this, it is entirely understandable.
This passion, in German, on Good Friday, was very good. The first time it had been done in German in Brum on Good Friday, apparently. The CBSO did a very good job of effecting a period orchestra; no fewer than two organs were employed. All the voices were very strong. Grant Doyle stepped in at the last minute in place of James Rutherford.  His CV promises good credentials, but he was the weak-point if truth be told. I can therefore only imagine that the problem was lack of time to rehearse etc. This was a fantastic afternoon all the same, but something stopped this having the effect it can have. It was very good, but somehow not excellent.
Quite how all this qualified as Birmingham International Concert Season: two Birmingham Institutions and a local conductor with his son singing is perhaps an Easter mystery for us all.

Ex Cathedra Choir
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Jeffrey Skidmore conductor
Andrew Tortise: Evangelist
Grant Doyle: Jesus
Sopranos: Katie Trethewey, Amy Wood
Altos: Martha McLorinan, Harriet Hougham Slade
Tenor II: Bradley Smith
Greg Skidmore: Judas and Bass II

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