Bach’s St John Passion: the Proms highlight

Last night’s Proms performance of Bach’s St John Passion, broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and BBC4 TV, was suitably divine.

The English Baroque Soloists and the Monteverdi Choir were exquisite. The solo voices, led by Mark Padmore (tenor) as the Evangelist, sang beautifully. Conductor John Eliot Gardiner kept it all moving along with firmness and finesse.

Quite apart from the powerful photography/direction and the use of subtitles to translate the text from the German, the digital TV technology was well employed to enrich the experience, with useful textual info on composer, work and performers.

Until last night, I’d hardly been excited by the Proms 2008 season but this Bach was spectacular. I only wish I’d been in the hall to witness it.

You can hear/watch it for another 6 days:

www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer

Gerry Smith

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