Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Bach - Mass in B Minor / Ruth Holton Matthias Rexroth Christoph Genz Klaus Mertens Georg Christoph Biller|
Actors: Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Ruth Holton, Matthias Rexroth, Christoph Genz, Klaus Mertens
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Dreadful Performance, Thrilling Anyway
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 06/14/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Slow, thumpy, out-of-tune, the Gewandhausorchester could hardly play with less sense of Baroque performance practices. Turn off the sound and watch the concertmaster's bow; the man has no sense of phrasing. The horn sounds like an Italian ambulance siren, but that's glorious compared to the trumpets, those kazoo-shaped miniature Bach trumpets used because modern trumpeters can't cover the parts written for baroque trumpets. These little beasties are shrill and out of tune nearly every time they enter. And the bassoons! I could produce better tone with a set of rubber bands stretched to various tensions. Conductor Georg Christoph Biller sets such lumbering tempi throughout - slower than the growth of the GDP under the communist regime of East Germany - that the soloists have trouble singing through phrase. One soloist, alto Matthias Rexroth, must have been having a bad hair day; his countertnor sounds forced and his tuning problems are horrendous. The Thomanerchor Leipzig, a sea of boys and near-men, is way too big to be expressive of anything but earnest bombast. It's hard to imagine a less artful performance...
...and yet! and yet! It's awfully hard not to be thrilled by the sight of all those boys singing their hearts out, the ten and twelve year olds swelling with pride, the tenors determined to sound mature, the faces of the basses splotched with acne and self-consciousness, just as they must and should be at that age. Then there are the faces of the orchestra members, most of them in their fifties and older, survivors and likely thrivers during the communist decades, any number of them perhaps former CP members. This is Leipzig, remember. Bach's homeland was part of East Germany, yet Bach's profoundly religious music was never suppressed. And the faces of the audience, packed to the buttresses of the Thomaskirche, the very church where Bach directed the musical studies of the choir boys and performed his cantatas to considerably less packed congregations. There's the thrill, to see all these people - musicians and listeners - rapt in adoration of the closest thing to man-made-God, the divine Johann Sebastian Bach. That's the worship you'll see and hear on this DVD, the powerful love of music that has survived both Communism and capitalism, and the collapse of European Christianity into indifference. It's exciting to see such commitment, even if the performance is amateurish."
FINE EXPERIENCE FOR THE LAYMAN
drkhimxz | Freehold, NJ, USA | 08/08/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First, the prodct information given by Amazon is incorrect in at least one respect important to some, there are subtitles in Latin, English, German and French. In addition, as pointed out in the reviews, Biller is the conductor, Rexroth is a soloist.
Second, while the soloists are not world class singers and the orchestra, perhaps, not up to the best that can be found on DVD for the Mass, still the secular musical layman will find this an uplifting, often exciting performance. How the religious will find it I cannot say; though if they share a love of Bach, they will probably get an extra measure of gratification at the vivid presentation of their commitments. For one value, frequently expressed, all of us are likely, to respond, "Amen" or our equivalent of it, the prayer for peace for all humankind. At least, for a few moments here, in this church, the genius of Bach gives us hope that the humanly unattainable might be achieved by a power beyond us."