|This PROVES it, godamnit|
Joshua Rifkin’s theory that Bach had no ‘choir’ in the modern sense may have gradually inched its way towards acceptance, but for all the heated discussion his research has generated, one-per-part Passions are rarer than one might suppose. Austrian conductor and choral director Martin Haselböck is absolutely convinced of the theory’s authenticity and promised in an excitedly worded programme note that this performance would give us a St Matthew Passion as Bach conceived it in scale and interpretation.One-per-part didn’t sound too lean and mean in the acoustic of the Minoritenkirche, but I’m not sold. Do click through anyway to read more about Tilman Lichdi’s Evangelist (highly recommended).
As for last week’s other Passion, I seem to have suffered a Midgette moment. I would add that a UniWien colleague (and Baroque specialist) also found the playing and conducting below-par. But in the interests of even-handedness here’s a more obliging review from the London Good Friday performance which reads as a rebuttal to mine.