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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bach's St John's Passion performed by the Britten Sinfonia at Saffron Hall

On Saturday evening I went to see a concert.

I went to the Saffron Hall (apparently the UK newest purpose built concert hall) to see Johann Sebastian Bach's St John's Passion.

In church music, Passion is a term for sung musical settings, normally at least partly choral, of the Gospel texts covering the Passion of Jesus, the events leading up to the Crucifixion of Jesus, and emphasising his suffering.

I was sort of unsure of whether I was going to enjoy this but hey nothing ventured nothing gained.

First let me say it was beautifully performed  by the Britten Sinfonia, Britten Sinfonia voices and associated soloists.

The orchestra was 19 instrumentalists and there were 13 vocalists in the Sinfonia voices. Nicholas Mulroy was excellent as the evangelist and I really liked Julia Doyle's voice. Perhaps my favourite piece was Iestyn Davies arioso "Mein Herz, in dem die ganze Welt" was made this memorable was not Davies' voice, excellent though it was, but Richard Tunnicliffe's playing on the Viola da Gamba (hope I've got that right) it was very heart wrenching and the mournfulness sat well with Davies singing.

As much as I enjoyed it, and I did, I'm not sure it is something I'd rush back to see. It was good but not wholly my thing. I could appreciate the skills of the musicians and the beauty of the music but.......

The Hall is very nice, decent seats and not too crammed in, easy viewing as well. It was a bit stuffy. Sadly the hall was only 75% (?) full.

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