In anticipation of our upcoming performances of Bach’s “Mass in B Minor,” I pulled out my scrapbook on the “St. Matthew Passion,” and came across this old newspaper clipping. Several phrases jumped out at me, “first time in Hawaii,” “reserved seats sold out” and “general admission seating is $25.” Wow, things haven’t changed much in 11 years!
In the year 2000, a gallon of gas cost $1.51 —today they’re talking about gas climbing back up to $4.00/gallon! Amazingly, at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, the price for going to the Bach “Mass in B Minor” will be the same as going to the “St. Matthew Passion” eleven years ago! $35 for preferred seating and $25 for general admission. What a deal!
Here’s another clipping which caught my eye. Our publicist, the late Elissa Josephsohn, placed our ad for the “St. Matthew Passion” in the entertainment section, among all the ads for movies. Our ad appeared right above the movie, “Whatever it takes” !!
Our concerts of the Bach “Mass in B minor” will be the first historically-informed performances in Hawaii of this work. That means that we will try to re-create, as much as possible, the musical forces, sounds, and tempos that the composer may have used — if he had ever performed it.
Reality check: we are not using only boys and men singers as Bach would have, and our players will have modern instruments. Yet, the strings will be playing in a “baroque” style, with light bowing and minimal vibrato. The choir, too, will have a bright, focused sound — no heavy vibratos allowed!
As for tempos, they will probably be exuberant, but we’ll try to keep Carl Crosier away from the coffee pot so they don’t go any faster that day!
Bach never performed the “Mass in B minor” before he died, but that will be the subject of another post.