31 March 2018

A blessed Easter 2

This was other (extant) Bach Passion performed in Canberra. Igitur nos with St John Passion at the other Manuka venue, St Paul's. It was a more moderate affair but no less satisfying. Only one orchestra of 14 players (small so that one muso suggested only half an orchestra) with Evangelist and soloists and a smaller but still involving, powerful and skilled choir of 23 singers. This was shorter and more accessible than the St Matthew Passion. More accessible because it was more comprehensible, being in English. The version was the Bärenreiter Urtext in both German and English, but this was sung in the English and it made a huge difference. I followed the text (given in the program with just minimal changes from that sung), but mostly I could catch the words, at least from the solo Evangelist who told the story; some of the choral parts were not so immediately clear and often repeated lines rather than narrated. I caught a few details of the story that I'd missed, names like Caiaphas and Annas and Malchas and a hyssop branch and the like. I was thrilled by the chorus when it entered, all big and full and often contrapuntal, and awed by the Evangelist's job on the night. Evangelist Daniel MacMillan was trained at ANU but is living in WA at present; he was flown over for this performance. The complexity of his job had me wondering if his part was originally improvised. It certainly wouldn't be these days. We had prime seats and enjoyed watching the strings, just metres from us, not least Kyle, busy on bass, and Greta who both played viola and stood to sing occasional soprano parts. And the guidance of Matthew Stuckings who got all this together and conducted. It was standing room only for the performance, on an afternoon with setting sun raising temperatures in the church and a smaller experience than St Matthews but another hugely satisfying performance. Truly a blessed Easter.

Igitur nos performed JS Bach St John Passion on Good Friday at St Paul's Manuka. Matthew Stuckings (conductor) led Igitur nos chamber choir and orchestra with Daniel MacMillan (Evangelist), Greta Claringbould (soprano), Veronica Thwaites-Brown (mezzo-soprano), Charles Hudson (tenor), Colin Milner (baritone, Jesus).

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