Occurred the afternoon of Mother’s Day — Karen and I attended the Washington Bach Consort’s performance of J.S. Bach’s “St. Matthew’s Passion.” For some years, led to this music by friends, I have been willing to agree that this is one of the greatest works in the repertory of the world. But Sunday’s performance was the best I have ever heard of this sublime work. The experience was artistically breathtaking. But it was also humbly and touchingly religious, loving, attentive to Bach’s own love for the Lord.
It is hard to get a piece artistically perfect (as perfect as humans get). It is not twice as difficult to get a piece religiously perfect at the same time, but rather twice squared.
One could almost visibly see that the whole ensemble — soloists, orchestra, chorale, and maybe above all its director (and maestro of everything) J. Reilly Lewis — were at prayer. It seemed that they were also touched by their own work. They achieved an extremely rare combination of two high spiritual skills: true artistic genius and true prayer.
If you don’t know the Washington Bach Consort, look for an opportunity to hear it, even on CD.