In the 3-hour long St. Matthew Passion, the Bach Collegium Japan shares how much they love Bach’s music.
Masaaki Suzuki is a dedicated conductor with full attention to the heavenly (and lengthy) passion. The ensemble responses with his gestures big or small.
The choir is of minimal scale, with only 21 singers on roster. No doubt that all singers are capable soloists. Singers, who do have solo roles, walk down from the three-tier podium to assume the role on stage.
Despite the small size, the choir is never sounding underwhelmed. Twice in “Laß ihn kreuziger” they deliver the angst and power any double-sized full chorus would do.
Among the soloist, countertenor Robin Blaze impresses the most with his warmth and infection with good control of his falsetto. Gerd Türk the evangelist faithfully sings and conceals the evangelist’s despair deep down his throat.
The instrumental soloists are splendid, particularly the concertmaster Ryo Terakado (who plays the famous “Erbarme dich”) and the bass player Shigeru Sakurai who doubles the viola da gamba in “Komm, süßes Kreuz.”
This concert precedes the official opening of the Hong Kong Arts Festival, and is the second of three concerts with Mr. Suzuki’s involvement.
Date: February 21, 2011
Venue: Concert Hall, Hong Kong Cultural Centre