The audience was hushed Tuesday night as conductor Ton Koopman took the stage in Memorial Hall.
Then, voices burst forth, and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir began a masterful performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Mass in B Minor.”
The compostion consists of four parts and is a musical setting of a Latin mass.
Both the orchestra and the choir performed Bach’s compositions precisely and impeccably. Koopman was a deft conductor and matched the energy of the orchestra.
Every seat was filled. The audience seemed to have been looking forward to this performance, and – if the thunderous applause before intermission was any indication – they were not disappointed.
The standout of the concert was the second portion, “Symbolum Nicenum,” which explored the birth, death and resurrection of Christ. Its central piece is “Crucifixus,” a dark, lamenting piece about Christ’s death that returns to triumphantly jubilant at his resurrection in “Et resurrexit.”
The selection displayed an incredible part of Bach’s repertoire. The songs included a huge selection of fugues, with the melodies in the chorus and even a few of the duets continually chasing after one another.
The songs included both arias and choral pieces that were usually bookended by intrusmental ritornellos. The text consisted of just a few Latin phrases, so most of the singing included melisma and heavy musical embellishment, true to Baroque style.
The vocal soloists were highly accomplished and each had a unique performance style.
Teresa Wakim was expressive and had a clean, ringing soprano that seemed to slice through the air.
Tenor Tilman Lichdi nearly matched Wakim in expressive features and his voice exuded a smooth, warm tone.
Bogna Bartoz revealed a deep, well-developed alto and a content demeanor, while bass Klaus Mertens had a confident, commanding presence and a beautiful, full voice that went well with the French horns and bassoons that often accompanied him.
The theatre was packed and the lines outside Memorial Hall remained long just ten minutes before the performance, but the performance certainly rewarded the audience’s efforts.
The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir paid tribute to one of the heroes of baroque music authentically and flawlessly.
See the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir perform more of Bach’s canon tonight in Memorial Hall at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 to $64.
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