Showing posts with label St Matthew Passion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label St Matthew Passion. Show all posts

Friday, March 20, 2020

Bach: St Matthew Passion

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): BWV 244 St Matthew Passion
Sunday 31 March 2019, Town Hall, Dunedin, New Zealand

SOLOISTS: Iain Tetley (Evangelist), Scott Bezett (Jesus), Lois Johnston (Soprano), Claire Barton (Alto), Andrew Grenon (Tenor), Malcolm Leitch (Bass)


The intellectual property of this video belongs to the Dunedin Choral Society Incorporated (trading as City Choir Dunedin). Sound recording by Strawberry Sound at a live performance, photos by Ian Thomson, video compilation by City Choir Dunedin.

Read the review by Elizabeth Bouman for the Otago Daily Times.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Bach performance 'fantastic'

St Matthew Passion - An Epic Musical Creation
Sunday 31 March, Dunedin Town Hall

Brenda Harwood, The Star, Thursday 4 April 2019

Monday, April 1, 2019

Massive musical undertaking delights

St Matthew Passion - An Epic Musical Creation
Sunday 31 March, Dunedin Town Hall

St Matthew Passion, by JS Bach, is a deeply moving oratorio requiring dramatic performances from all. Yesterday's performance in Dunedin Town Hall, conducted by David Burchell, showcased the choral majesty of Bach's music in a marathon of energy and passion.

This is not an easy work, demanding almost three hours' interpretation of emotional musical intensity, expressed in German, a foreign language to most of the performers.

The text outlines Christ's final days from various perspectives, with a narrator (Evangelist - Iain Tetley), Jesus (Scott Bezett) and other principal soloists - Lois Johnston (soprano), Claire Barton (contralto), Andrew Grenon (tenor) and Malcolm Leitch (bass) taking on different roles and characters to advance the storyline between full choral anthems from combined choirs - City Choir Dunedin, Christchurch City Choir, and Forte (Fairfield School) who added an extra timbre to harmonic textures of the big anthems in Part 1.

Dunedin Symphony Orchestra provided a 30-piece baroque orchestra, including three keyboard continuo performers, two oboes d'amore adding impressive gilding to some of the vocal solos, and a viola da gamba.

The overall performance was a credit to all participating. However, with the 160-voice choir, musical articulation and clarity of German was sometimes needy, but their balance, intonation, quality of tone and expression was excellent.

Tetley possesses a crisp clear tenor, with counter-tenor colouring, which is ideal for ``story-telling''.

Bezett, at age 21, was outstanding in his interpretation of the role of Jesus. His voice carried well, reflecting sound technique and hours of preparation.

Johnston and Barton often sing together, and the fine balance for their duet was a highlight.

Enthusiastic prolonged applause and endless comments of approval rewarded the performance.

Review in the ODT, 1 April 2019, by Elizabeth Bouman

Letters to the Editor of the Otago Daily Times

Bravo, maestros
A big thank-you to City Choir Dunedin, the six soloists and the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra, and of course the conductor David Burchell for the magnificent performance of the St Matthew Passion.
The dramatic music stirred the emotions, and I had tears in my eyes when the evangelist raises his voice when he imitates the crowing of the rooster.

But this is not an opera but church music which can inspire the listener to deep contemplation. So, please audience, do not applaud at the end of the performance. Bouquets of flowers to the conductor and soloists seem out of place, as this is not a concert.

Heinke Sommer-Matheson, Maori Hill, 3 April 2019

Marvellous music
I write to express deep appreciation of the performance of Bach's St Matthew Passion at Dunedin Town Hall on Sunday, 31 March. Grateful thanks are due to the combined choirs, the orchestra and soloists for heartfelt and disciplined music making.

That five cathedral organists were present says much for the respect we all give to David Burchell, conductor, Tessa Petersen, concertmaster, and all involved. The outstanding playing of Polly Sussex, viola da gamba, carried throughout the magnificent town hall and added authenticity.

Bach gives us much to contemplate in this Passiontide season, as for example when his music adorns the text: "As long as life lasts, we have a thousand thanks for Christ's sufferings, for having valued so highly the salvation of our souls." And out of suffering will soon come the joy and miracle of Easter Day!

Dr Raymond White, Invercargill, 8 April 2019

Monday, January 21, 2019

St Matthew Passion – An Epic Musical Creation

St Matthew Passion
Sunday 31 March 2019, 2:00 pm
Dunedin Town Hall

David Burchell, conductor
Soloists: Iain Tetley (Evangelist), Scott Bezett (Jesus), Lois Johnston (Soprano), Claire Barton (Alto), Andrew Grenon (Tenor), Malcolm Leitch (Bass)
City Choir Dunedin
Christchurch City Choir
Fairfield School Choir, Forte
Dunedin Symphony Orchestra

City Choir Dunedin is proud to present Bach’s epic work: St Matthew Passion. The resources for St Matthew Passion are huge, requiring a double choir, a large orchestra and seven soloists. Christchurch City Choir will join us to provide the second choir and they are excited to be involved in this most marvellous of works. The acclaimed soloists are Iain Tetley (Evangelist), Scott Bezett (Jesus), Lois Johnston (Soprano), Claire Barton (Alto), Andrew Grenon (Tenor) and Malcolm Leitch (Bass). The Dunedin Symphony Orchestra will provide orchestral support while David Burchell will conduct this highlight in Dunedin’s musical calendar. 

In the Middle Ages Christian churches began observing Holy Week by retelling the story of Christ’s crucifixion in music. Bible verses were set to chant melodies, with St Matthew Passion culminating in one of the most ambitious musical compositions of all time. 

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) composed his St Matthew Passion for the 1727 Good Friday service at St Thomas Church in Leipzig, Germany. The work is the largest single composition Bach ever wrote, both in terms of length and in terms of forces called for in the score. 

The story of the Passion begins in the turmoil of Jesus’s last days in Jerusalem and ends with his crucifixion and burial. The drama is brought to life by Bach’s musical expression of the Christian tenets of love, grace, and salvation. This epic work, perhaps Bach’s most personal, often moves from a moment of violent operatic drama to a solo aria, frozen in time, an utterance from deep inside the soul. 

The St Matthew Passion is one the greatest creations, revealing layers of meaning in the text. The great variety of music in the Passion is dramatic, passionate and emotional, and surprises abound. With more than 250 musicians on stage, this performance will be epic and one not to be missed.

Subscribe to the 2019 concert season as a Friend of the Choir to save up to 10% on single ticket prices!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A little history

City of Dunedin Choir performing J.S. Bach's St Matthew Passion

5 August 1961, Knox Church
Conductor Prof. Peter Platt
Soloists Dora Drake, Valda McCracken, Ninian Walder, Alistair Stokes, Ed Bohan and Anson Austin
Dunedin Concert Orchestra

17 April 1962, Dunedin Town Hall
Conductor Prof. Peter Platt
Soloists Heather Taylor, Valda McCracken, John Fisher, Arthur Bownie, Noel Signal, Alistair Stokes, Roy Coats
With the University Music Union Choir and the boys of St Paul's Cathedral Choir
Dunedin Concert Orchestra

8 April 1963, Dunedin Town Hall
Conductor Prof. Peter Platt
Soloists Anita Ritchie, Valda McCracken, Walter Robinson, Ed Bohan, Lucas Bunt
With the University Music Union Choir
Dunedin Concert Orchestra (augmented)

24 April 1979, Dunedin Town Hall
Conductor Peter Warwick
Soloists Robert Oliver, Roger Wilson, Ruth Hawkey, Sally Banks, Peter Williams, Haward Harvey
Dunedin Civic Orchestra

2 April 1980, Dunedin Town Hall
Conductor Peter Warwick
Soloists Anthony Benfell, Roger Wilson, Pam Blanchard, Judith Borick, Harvey Brown
With the trebles of ST Paul's Cathedral and Knox Church Choirs
Dunedin Civic Orchestra

The above five performances were sung from the Choir's own scores of the Elgar/Atkins edition in English.

20 March 2005, Dunedin Town Hall
Conductor David Burchell
Soloists David Hamilton, Pepe Becker, David Hansen, David Griffiths, Grant Dixon, Shaun Dixon
Southern Sinfonia.

This performance was in German.

All performances were organised by the Dunedin Choral Society, later called Scola Cantorum and then City of Dunedin Choir, with members of the University Music Union and Cathedral Choirs joining in some performances.

Thanks to Hugh Montgomery for researching the archives.