St Matthew Passion at the Philharmonic

After my Palm (House) Sunday start to Holy Week I was pleased to get tickets to see the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic orchestra’s ‘St Matthew Passion’. It was a full house, as the man to my left told me he got the last ticket and the lady next to him had travelled all the way from Devon to see it, such is the reputation of our wonderful Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Art Deco setting within the Phil framed the Philharmonic choir, youth choir and full orchestra well. Together with the five soloists; Andrew Staples, tenor, Ian Patterson, Bass-baritone, Klara Ek, Soprano, Helena Rusker, Alto,and Johannes Mannov, Bass; the dynamic young Russian, Vasily Petrenko really had his hands full!

Bach’s passion is sung in his native German though luckily the programme gave the English translation giving me an opportunity to appreciate the use of the different soloists for each part. The changing moods and music from soloist to the wonderful individual orchestral players, all supported by the choirs, kept me held captive. I was personally impressed with the wind section of the orchestra as they ascended and descended with ease even though you could see how hard they were working, it sounded effortless.

The three and a half hours passed so quickly and through the Passion from the Last Supper to the Burial, the musical moods, tempos and contrasting volumes enthralled the audience and left me feeling uplifted. Having not been to a classical concert since my daughter played here with the Merseyside Youth Orchestra, it was she incidentally who recommended this concert to me, I hope to be back to see more of the RLPO’s concerts this year and not just to visit the delights of the other Philharmonic on Hope Street. Happy Days!

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