No, this time we’re not getting ready to perform Bach, this week we are getting ready to listen to Bach. Carl and I are in the Pacific Northwest visiting family and friends and have been listening to Gustav Leonhardt‘s recording of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion while we have been driving around in the car. On this recording is bass Max van Egmond, and it is bringing back many happy memories of our St. John Passion performance in 2004, when he flew to Honolulu to sing the part of Jesus. Even still, it seems hard to believe that it has been fourteen years since our own performance of the St. Matthew Passion, which was certainly a defining moment for us as musicians as well as for the Lutheran Church of Honolulu.
My first experience with singing the Passion actually was over 40 years ago under noted conductor Robert Shaw who had come to Westminster Choir College to present a two week workshop. We then performed the work at Riverside Church and I recall that Florence Kopleff (May 2, 1924 – July 24, 2012) was the contralto.
Anyway, this Friday we will be attending the Seattle Symphony performance of the St. Matthew Passion in Benaroya Hall. The performance is a joint venture between the Seattle Symphony and the early music group, Pacific Music Works, directed by Stephen Stubbs. Yes. it is the same Stephen Stubbs that we hear so often at the Boston Early Music Festival. Stephen Stubbs will play the lute in the Seattle Symphony’s performances of the St. Matthew Passion and will conduct the Pacific MusicWorks performances of the St. John Passion. Click here for extended program notes for the Seattle performance.
The artists for the St Matthew Passion are Ludovic Morlot, conductor; Thomas Cooley, tenor; Dorothee Mields, soprano; Shannon Mercer, soprano; Terry Wey, counter-tenor; Laura Pudwell, mezzo-soprano; Aaron Sheehan, tenor; Charles Daniels, tenor; Tyler Duncan, baritone; Matthew Brook, bass-baritone; Northwest Boychoir; Seattle Symphony Chorale; and the Seattle Symphony.
The same soloists will be performing Bach’s St John Passion the very next weekend for which we have also bought tickets.