Due to my own technological ineptitude, this article was never posted. And being that we are so often told "better late than never," I'm living by that principle and posting it now. On behalf of myself and the website for which I write, I want to apologize to you, the reader, and to all the hard working artists and management at Carnegie Hall who make it possible for me to continue to do what I do. I am very grateful for everything they have done for me both past and present.
Saturday, December 18th, 2010. A date which will live in infamy. Never before have so many incredibly talented individuals joined forces on the stage at Carnegie Halls Isaac Stern Auditorium/Ronald O. Perelman Stage. Most had traveled a great long distance for a special week of concerts that ended with an event of epic proportions. There was only one single item on the bill; Benjamin Britten's War Requiem.
As the SKF Matsumoto Choir, Ritsuyukai Choir, and SKF Matsumoto Childresn's Chorus too their place, all were waiting with baited breath for conductor Seiji Ozawa to take the stage. When he finally arrived, he was met with thunderous applause that normally accompanies a finale of a Sousa symphony. It was well worth it as Mr. Ozawa conducted his orchestra, chorus, and soloist with pure perfection. Though a piano bench was provided, he rarely used it to rest. He spent most of the evening with boundless energy.
Our soprano soloist was dramatic soprano Christine Goerke. Her voice seemed to have a bit darker sound since I last heard her, but still retained her solid technique with bold and brassy overtones. The tenor soloist was four-time Grammy Award-winning artist Anthony Dean Griffey. Mr. Griffey has been championing Brittens work in recent years particularly in title role of Peter Grimes. His voice is something unique all to him. Slightly brash with gentile musicality, he was simply a musical poet. A seemingly simple feat that so few actually achieve. Though his sound might not please every ear, it is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Rounding the cast was our baritone soloist Matthias Goerne. He brought a grounding sound that anchored the evening. His diction was a bit muddled at times and he would jerk about a bit in beat with the music which proved to be distracting.
But the absolute star of the evening wasn't any single being. It was all forces combined. The music was so stirring and thought provoking on its own that when you add all the other elements on top, it made for the most profound choral experience I've ever had. Every bit of theatrically was in place, every note in perfect position, not a single element was in the wrong. It was just an incredible evening and I am quite fortunate to count myself lucky enough to have been there. I will never forget it.
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