Sunday, 7 March 2010

Bach in Birmingham

Bach's St Matthew Passion, performed by soloists with the CBSO and CBSO Chorus and Children's Chorus. Conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. 7th March 2010 at Symphony Hall, Birmingham.
It's hard to sum up such a performance and music: here's an attempt.
Immensely powerful and moving, but not least due to the perfect precision and balance: beautiful touches from instrumentalists, clear singing particularly from the Evangelist, and real feeling from all concerned: Thomas Quasthoff, tenor singer I couldn't spot from the balcony, seated as he's disabled, wonderful voice and complete involvement. Some particularly exquisite woodwind contributions and the solo violin, and Ulrich Heinen's cello continuo at the front of the stage (he lives up the road from my Mum, so had to mention him!)
Simon Ratttle, in charge but not domineering, bringing that extra level of performance that he does from his musicians and amateur (but very professional) choir. He does bring an authority to the stage: he held the silence at the end of the piece for several seconds - no applause, no coughing, no whispering - till the audience started clapping and I suspect still hadn't stopped while a number of us were on our way home.
Just glad I thought to buy tickets (last June to be sure!!)
A very special concert.
See BBC page for notes and a PDF of the text.

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