THROUGHOUT the country during the last two weeks thousands of people will have been taking part or attending performances of Passion Music, particularly that of Bach and Handel.
The St. Matthew Passion which is performed on Passion and Palm Sundays by the Bach Choir with Dr. Reginald Jacques and his orchestra has become a timehonoured institution, although this year the performances took place at the Royal Festival instead of the Royal Albert Hall.
Adverse comment of anything that has become a tradition tends to be considered as almost sacrilegious; yet it is on criticism, not on the lack of it, that they thrive. I must say the performance last Sunday was on the whole disappointing, though honours must be given to the orchestra and the instrumental soloist, who, under the gentle but eXpert hand of Dr. Jacques, achieved moments of perfection; that personal, mystical quality that permeates Bach's music. Such heights were never reached by the Choir, who lacked inspiration, but were none the less precise and vigorous. The Evangelist of William Herbert was excellent, despite sounding a little forced and tired.