St. John Passion as chamber music

Ole Josephsen (Helsingør Dagblad, 11 April, 2007)

Music: Can one squeeze Bach's grand St. John Passion, in regards to the number of performers, and do with 9 singers and 11 musicians? This was the task for the new solistic vocal and instrumental ensemble 'Copenhagen Soloists' Saturday afternoon in Tikøb church, and one must say, that the ensemble solved the task with bravura. Bach's score was interpreted with musical naturalness, so the audience - a full Tikøb church - got an experience of the rare kind.

It was a St John Passion performed in chamber musical fashion, where each phrase, each harmony, each choir movement and each intimate aria and choral were lighted with a clear bright hue. The work is clearly a choir composition which poses great demand as to intonation and precision, and when the choir consists of only 2 singers per each of the four voices, then the demand is greater than what would normally be required of a choir singer. The 8 singers voices were interbalanced and the result felt volumewise just as full as a big choir. All 8 singers performed as well, in most beautiful fashion, as soloists in the passion's arias. Here it was the alt aria 'Es ist vollbracht' and soprano aria 'Zerfliesse mein Herze' which made the most profound impression.

The Evangelist, who comments and weaves the single episodes, was well placed in his critical role in the story with his sonorous tenor. An impressing performance.

The small well balanced baroque ensemble of 11 musicians made sure with their authentic instruments to provide a fine and faithful accompaniement to the vocal parts. The ensemble played without a conductor, but was lead by concertmaster Jonathan on baroque violin. Bach in hish high heaven would have been delighted for this uplifting concert.