All Saint’s Church, Ashmont stuffed with superb Baroque music Sunday whereas sustaining the intimate and solemn nature of Bach’s Ardour In line with Saint John. 4 P.M. have to be the perfect time for a efficiency of this work, because the stained-glass home windows depicting the adoration of the Maji and the Risen Christ, vividly illuminated at intermission, turned darkish by the conclusion of the live performance, mirroring the progress of the story. All through the second half, my wandering eyes usually fell on the gilded Rood that stood over the orchestra and its picture of a cranium on the base of the cross.
The historicity of the preparations would definitely have happy traditionally knowledgeable efficiency advocates. The ensemble featured a well-picked choir of eight vocalists singing two-to-a-part for the choruses, augmented by the Boys of the Choir of All Saints within the chorales.
Of the titular roles, solely the Evangelist got here from exterior of the choir. The soloist differentiated himself from the opposite singers by delivering his traces from the elevated pulpit overlooking the ensemble. The musicians within the chamber orchestra used Baroque devices tuned to A=415. The continuo part contained two cellos (one doubling on viola da gamba), bass, bassoon, lute, and chamber organ. The small ensemble dimension allow us to observe how people responded to the rating and the vocalists they accompanied, and the steadiness between singers and gamers by no means strayed.
The dynamic conductor Andrew Sheranian,guided the efficiency by way of casting, rehearsal, and live performance. As one fellow attendee remarked to me after the conclusion: what he lacks in hair, he makes up for with inventive imaginative and prescient. Although a number of performers commented to me in regards to the sparse rehearsal time, Andrew’s clear beat and cues ensured that the ensemble by no means felt unsure or uneasy. He appeared to keep up easy communication with each performer, and he not often checked out his rating. One can conduct like this solely after having digested and internalized the music.
Andrew Bearden Brown crammed his rigorously balanced interpretation of the Evangelist with deep expression and gravitas. Like a wonderful narrator, he maintained the wonderful line between emotionality and detachment in his many recitatives. His clear diction and pious physique language underscored the scripture, not poetry, which he recited. His supply of the road “Da nahm Pilatus Jesum und geisseite ihn” got here throughout with specific power, and he produced an electrifying melisma on His physique froze after the tough cadence from the continuo part, and he didn’t soften his composure till the opening notes of the next arioso.
The remainder of the ensemble shared in his extreme demeanor and seriousness of dramatic and musical function. The singers displayed their sensitivity of ensemble and a spotlight to textual content in such choruses as Herr, unser Herrscher and Ruht wohl, ihr heiligen Gebeine, however their agility within the ‘interjection choruses’ impressed us. These brief choruses interspersed across the recitatives are notoriously tough for an ensemble to enter collectively, but they managed them seamlessly. The sensitivity of the ensemble within the aria Eilt, ihr angefocht’nen Seelen sounded spectacular. The 16th-note countermelodies within the strings appeared to drift transparently round bass Daniel Fridley whereas he sang the phrases ‘Hurry to Golgotha.’ The refrain exclaimed “Wohin?” with readability and precision whereas balancing nicely dynamically in opposition to him.
His second aria, Mein theurer Heiland, showcased the management of the singers and continuo part. The D main aria in 12/8 can really feel flippant following Jesus’s loss of life with its frequent trills; nonetheless, Daniel and cellist Andrew Koutroubas managed the passagework nimbly. Their articulation complimented one another nicely whereas their melismatic 16th-notes calmly graced the choir’s delicate quotations of the hymn Jesu Leiden, Pein und Tod. Mezzo-soprano Julia Cavallaro and gambist Sarah Coffman had been equally concerted within the aria Es ist vollbracht, which options the tightest interweaving of solo voice and instrument within the piece. Their ornamentation achieved near-perfect synchrony with slight idiomatic inflections distinguishing the 2.
The arioso Betrachte, meine Seel’ and aria Erwäge, wie sein blutgefärbter Rücken transfixed the viewers with muted violins (substituting for viola d’amores), viola da gamba, and lute. Olav Chris Henriksen’s even-tempered arpeggios on lute mirrored bass Ulysses Thomas’s tranquil supply of the arioso, his phrasing emphasizing the dissonance of the aria. This dovetailed nicely into tenor Marcio de Oliveira emphatic presentation of the aria. These singers and instrumentalists carried out this pair of songs with excellent timbre and tone.
The woodwindss offered a substantial amount of colour and texture. Within the choruses, their tone blended nicely with the strings and voices to create a heat texture. In arias, they contributed as deeply as any vocalist. The oboes and bassoon shaped a wonderful trio within the aria Von den Stricken meiner Sünden which balanced like an organ. Mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Eschen Cacciola managed the treacherously angular vocal half with ease across the cloud of double reeds. Within the aria Ich folge dir gleichfalls, the unison flutes matched soprano Janet Stone’s glowing voice whereas enjoying in opposition to the bouncy off-beat eighth notes from the basso continuo group. The flutes and oboes mixed with sublimity within the aria Zerfliesse, meine Herze with the undulating bassline produced by the cellos and bass. Soprano Elise Groves extremely melismatic vocal line sat serenely on this texture. This aria, greater than every other, felt as if it will by no means finish, and the viewers didn’t need it to.
The presence of anti-Semitism in Bach’s textual content isn’t a simple topic to method (particularly in a Ardour), and Elise Groves’s essay and well-crafted translation of the textual content acknowledge its realities inside Bach’s genius. This system notes body anti-Semitism as a query of who’s the villain of the story. Groves cited chorales that inform the viewers to think about their very own sins as exhibiting how we should always maintain ourselves chargeable for Jesus’s loss of life. Whereas it’s unclear if any of the sung German textual content had been altered, the English translation in this system changed most references to the Jews with the phrase “mob” in sq. brackets, which maybe unintentionally attributes a ‘mob mentality’ to a number of characters within the narrative. This presentation will not be dissimilar from the common disclaimer given at any mildly progressive Church within the space throughout Holy Week. She ended her notes by questioning why we search to divide characters into an ‘us verses them’ dichotomy as a substitute of empathizing with everybody within the narrative.