It seems almost implausible that the recording of the choral sections of the St. John Passion could be completed in 9 hours, but, tonight, at a little after 10 pm, we finished this epic journey. If I’m doing the math correctly, Greg, continuo organist Charlotte Mattax Moersch, and cellist Loretta O’Sullivan spent around 27 hours in front of the mics, and of course, Tonmesiter Martha de Francisco and her colleagues put in at least that much time. A hearty bravo to the magnificently talented band of soloists who have done so much to illuminate our understanding of this music, and to bring to life this masterwork with such astonishing artistry. This project was a labor of love for the Bach Choir and its very able staff, and many, many kudos are due to our wonderfully gifted Executive Director, Bridget George, for her leadership and substantive contribution to the success of this project in several areas. The many individuals who helped to fund the recording are to be thanked for their generosity, and my wonderful colleagues in The Choir and orchestra deserve high praise for their stamina, energy, and perseverance. Last, but certainly not least, a heartfelt tip of the hat to our intrepid maestro, Greg Funfgeld, for his patience, his fearless leadership, his arch-musicianship, and his good cheer and unflappable spirit. A lof of grueling, hard work went into this project, but it was also a great, even inestimable joy to hear the multiplicity of details come together. The engelein mentioned in the closing chorale seemed to be breathing into our sails, and what a delight it will be to hear the fruits of our collective labor in a few months less than a year’s time.
Tomorrow, Greg, the continuo players, and Benjamin Butterfield and Bill Sharp will rehearse the recitatives for our second performance of the St. John on Friday evening, and soon we’ll be in the midst of welcoming our audience for weekend two of the Festival.