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The Times tough on choir at Proms

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  • A Cappella News
    THE TIMES Hilary Finch - Proms 50,51,52 At the heart of Bach Day was an eagerly anticipated and sold-out performance of the St John Passion, from the
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 25, 2008
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      THE TIMES
      Hilary Finch - Proms 50,51,52

      At the heart of Bach Day was an eagerly anticipated and sold-out
      performance of the St John Passion, from the Monteverdi Choir and
      English Baroque Soloists. It was a disappointment. The Monteverdi
      Choir frequently come pretty near to upstaging their soloists; and
      their opening chorus - long, urgent lines of shifting harmonies, with
      each cry of "Herr!" rising hot from the heart - was, indeed, a hard
      act to follow.

      But John Eliot Gardiner had inexplicably cast this Passion from
      weakness, not from strength. Apart from Mark Padmore's always
      lyrically expressive Evangelist and the poised, if underpowered,
      Christus of Peter Harvey, the soloists were simply not up to the job.
      The style and ardour of both choral singing and playing was sadly, and
      sometimes absurdly, discrepant from the insipid alto solos of Robin
      Blaze, the short-breathed soprano of Katharine Fuge, the languid bass
      of Matthew Brook, and the undernourished tenors of Nicholas Mulroy and
      Jeremy Budd.
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