Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra 521.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
'Missa Solemnis’ is not the title of Bach’s Lutheran Mass BV 234, performed in
the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra’s season opening concert, conducted by David
Shemer, but solemn it was, as performed in this concert, even more than
The Barrocade Vocale, a small and still new
ensemble, sounded thin and cautious, divesting the work of the small emotional
content it has, and rendering even the Gloria and the Cum Sancto Spiritu with
too noble restraint. Yair Polishook’s warm baritone sounded appealing, Ye’ela
Avital’s bright soprano soared effortlessly over orchestra and choir, but Avital
Dery’s pleasant mezzo-soprano was rather too small for the dimensions of the
Henry Crown Hall.
Matters improved noticeably in Handel’s Dixit Dominus
(“The Lord said,” Psalm 109).
Handel, incorrigibly, could not and would
not conceal, even in a work of sacred music, the fact that at heart he was an
His dramatic energies and operatic effects inspired the
choir to shed its initial indifference, and injected abandon, liveliness and, at
long last, audible volume into its singing.
The extremely demanding
coloraturas, though, still remained beyond the choir’s and the solo singers’
capacities, but they got mercifully drowned in the rendition’s enthusiasm. The
male quartet, blending in harmoniously with the two female solos, was one of the
The well-rehearsed orchestra contributed the
required energy and cohesiveness.