I’ve been listening to a lot of Bach lately. It’s like diving into the ocean. I gave away some tickets to Les Violons du Roy’s Montreal performance of the St. John Passion because I had to be in Toronto for the NDP convention; the music student I gave them to told me I had to check out the Berlin Philharmonic’s performance of the St. Matthew Passion. So I did. It kind of knocked me out.
The Berlin orchestra is brilliant in its use of new media, both for marketing and just to spread good music. Long excerpts of the performance are on Youtube. The whole thing is online in high-definition video at their website, as is everything they’ve done since 2008, for a decent price. And you can buy the St. Matthew Passion on DVD, as I did. Here’s a taste of the performance:
And here’s the great American theatre director Peter Sellars explaining what he did with the chorus. Laugh at his hair, get it out of your system, and then listen to his insights about faith, pain and theatrical performance.