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Bach's St. Matthew Passion

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DavidW:
There was a big write up on Richter in the NYTimes recently.  I mean since we're talking about Mike's post where he keeps going back to him... thought I'd share

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/21/arts/music/karl-richter-bach-music.html

knight66:

--- Quote from: Brewski on February 05, 2021, 03:11:19 PM ---I agree (and I don't know the piece well). But this is the kind of commentary that should be part of a book. (Hint, hint.  8) )

--Bruce

--- End quote ---

More likely a photo book I think. Just reading what I had posted prompted a memory of singing a string of performances of Handel’s Messiah. There were about a dozen of them across four weeks and our full symphony chorus was split into teams. There were no rehearsals, as everyone knew the piece from our traditional New Year’s Day performances. One performance was in a very beautiful Gothic church attached to the ruins of Linlithgow Palace near Edinburgh. Mary Queen of Scots was christened there.

There were six bases and we were oddly lined up. I was the only bass in the front row. The accompaniment was by organ. All went normally until the Amen Chorus started up. I realised I was the only person singing. The conductor was looking at me beseechingly to keep going. Normally we staggered breathing so that the line was continuous. All I could think was that I would have to breath somewhere and I was trying to work out where to snatch a breath. I could feel myself go bright red. We got through it and the conductor asked the bases where they were when he gave the downbeat. He then added me to more than my share of performances. A mystery. Anyway....sorry, back to Bach.

Mike

knight66:

--- Quote from: DavidW on February 05, 2021, 03:38:06 PM ---There was a big write up on Richter in the NYTimes recently.  I mean since we're talking about Mike's post where he keeps going back to him... thought I'd share

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/21/arts/music/karl-richter-bach-music.html

--- End quote ---

Very interesting. I mostly listened to his second St Matthew when I was young. Now I have problems with it, but the soloists are mostly superb. He allows them space and time to get the text across. The instrumental lines in the Ah Golgotha number sound like 20 century music. A lot of the then Original Instrument performances used soloists with white voices, relatively expressionless. Colouring the voice and any vibrato was anathama. I really want the meaning of the words to come across and not be constricted almost to being another instrumental line. Richter is ponderous, but the set is powerful in many ways.

I don’t think mixing the old and new instruments works. It was done in the Abbado performances where a viola de gamba was added. It was a startling sound in the wrong way.

I do sense that we have been moving more firmly to a place where technical scholarship and interpretative flexibility are being balanced and the singers can inject meaning and colour.

Mike

Handelian:
Just acquired the second Herreweghe recording. It really is a fabulously beautiful performance of the great work. I have his first but I think this is even better. Another recording to my somewhat extensive library!

DavidW:

--- Quote from: knight66 on February 09, 2021, 01:09:15 PM ---Very interesting. I mostly listened to his second St Matthew when I was young. Now I have problems with it, but the soloists are mostly superb. He allows them space and time to get the text across. The instrumental lines in the Ah Golgotha number sound like 20 century music. A lot of the then Original Instrument performances used soloists with white voices, relatively expressionless. Colouring the voice and any vibrato was anathama. I really want the meaning of the words to come across and not be constricted almost to being another instrumental line. Richter is ponderous, but the set is powerful in many ways.
--- End quote ---

Richter was the first one to get me to connect with those works.  But yeah I usually listen to Herreweghe, Kuijken, Koopman, Gardiner, Suzuki and others these days.


--- Quote ---I don’t think mixing the old and new instruments works.
--- End quote ---

With my biggest pet peeve being harpsichord continuo in late Mozart and Haydn symphonies!

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