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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 25, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 12
Early Music Guild presents satisfying Bach
Arts & Entertainment
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Early Music Guild presents satisfying Bach

by Rod Parke - SGN A&E Writer

St. John Passion
March 20
Town Hall


Seattle's Early Music Guild pulled together three organizations plus vocal soloists to present Bach's St. John Passion. The Portland Baroque Orchestra, Les Voix Baroques (soloists and chorus), and Cappella Romana filled the stage at Town Hall.

At the first chords of the combined orchestra and chorus, I winced and thought that this was going to be a very long afternoon! Soon, however, the ears adjusted to the less-than-ideal acoustic so that the sound lost its grating quality and became quite acceptable.

The chorus, which included the soloists, had three voices to a part; and the orchestra of period-style instruments was of appropriate size to balance them. Monica Huggett, artistic director of the Portland Baroque, conducted and played violin.

Veteran tenor Charles Daniels sang the Evangelist with consummate skill and ease. Baritone Joshua Hopkins' dark, deep voice carried perfect gravity for the voice of Jesus. Jacques-Olivier Chartier, a 23-year-old tenor, sang sweet-voiced solos, and Tyler Duncan projected a powerful Pilatus. Bass David Stutz was Petrus.

Bach's St. John Passion is lovely music, even if it does not have the power, beauty, or imagination of the 'St. Matthew Passion' or the 'B Minor Mass.' The forces at Town Hall made a strong case for the work, and I doubt if anyone left the concert dissatisfied.

Reviewer Rod Parke can be reached at rmp62@columbia.edu.

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