Monster music on Good Friday: St Matthew Passion

Caught the (near) sell out concert of St Matthew Passion with the City of London Sinfonia and BBC Singers last night. Richard Hickox conducted, and the Evangelist was played by Tom Randle who was superb. The first time I had seen someone treat the role as though it was retelling a drama and not reciting an oracle (although the music at times does tend to lend itself to being the latter).

At three hours in length however it is a marathon effort - for the performers and the audience. It is one of those pieces that can work really well or fail spectacularly. I was in a performance of the latter once, so it was nice to see the former happen last night.

For those in the audience that didn't feel like DVT was setting in, they rewarded the performers with a raptuous applause. They had definitely earned it, and you could sense the relief in the faces of the orchestra members and chorus that it was over. They certainly earned their performance fees last night...

I found out when I got there that one could have stayed at home and listened to it on BBC Radio 3, but it is more fun being there live... Even with the possibility of DVT. Oh and last minute purchase of one of the few remaining seats meant I was surrounded by pensioners (and the curious smell of mothballs)... They never give you the demographics of who is sitting around you however when you book alas...

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