Bach Czech: a good idea

Vaclav Luks is obviously a leader of choir.

The Bach Festival has had the idea, the boldness and the courage to come to the Czech Republic of unknown musicians to come and bring us their vision and we share their expertise on Bach. The initiative has been excellent. Vaclav Luks is obviously a researcher, theorist, musicologist and researcher passionate about.


The question always arises if these speculation really have a reason to be. If Bach asked, for example, four singers (theoretical hypothesis), which tells us that in his mind he wouldn’t dream of having twelve, but he knows very well that he does not obtain ? This is just an example as this, to say that everything is bound to time, place… The place, we would return.


A leader of choir


To express its deep reflections, Vaclav Luks is a religion. The numbers are of four singers per voice and some choirs, which are included (such as the Kyrie the initial or the fugato of the” Et in terra pax “), may be sung by soloists and then by the tutti.


The idea of a tempo alla brief (faster) prints of many choirs, for example, the Gratias. In general, the approach of Luks is very toned : his Mass in b advance, but without ever jumping around. Up almost quick is striking in the air (solos and duets).


Vaclav Luks is obviously a leader of choir. Not only is his vocal ensemble is well balanced and homogeneous, but its direction is choir. It thus lends relatively little attention to the symbolism of the coloration instrumental, for example, the blasts of trumpets (the light) at the end of the Gratias. Strange trumpets natural, moreover, played by brilliant players, whose one has the impression that they would want to project their sound into the ground, or underground not to be heard or to remove gloss to their sound ! As for the cor-natural in the solo in the Quoniam, he has played with the random Canadian on the eve.


The intelligence of the vocalité who lives Václav Lucks to him to choose to be excellent soloists, very well matched. The time of the duo in unum Deum, I was almost convinced of the interest to prefer a counter-tenor to mezzo. But in the Agnus Dei, I’m decidedly returned to my old loves : in my opinion it is the warmth of a mezzo women who should be better.


Bach, a victim of commercialism ?


In the dramaturgy of the Mass, Vaclav Luks has alternated the visionary and the disconcerting. In the first category, Which tollis very eloquent, Cum sancto spititum time version, a superb estate Et incarnatus est–Crucifixus-Et Resurrexit, with a Crucifixus violent entry, as well as a brilliant Sanctus.


More disconcerting : the lack of flair in the succession of components : hear Luks does not segue attacca Christe Eleison, and Kyrie eleison, Benedictus and Osanna or Agnus Dei and Dona nobis pacem threw me for a loop, as the thing that is inconsistent with the intelligence which presided over the rest.


The summit of the heresy was, however, not artists. Believe it or not : this Mass has been cut in two by an intermission ! The idea to go drink a beer in between the Gloria and the Credo of a mass is not the one that flows through me as naturally as the spirit. Information taken, it is not a choice made by the interpreters, nor the Festival, but a “need” to sell refreshments. Can we know why the Place des Arts carries this name, if it is to impose mutilate art in the name of the sacralisation of the commercialism ? Are we going to put on a little finger of Vermouth, to console us between the Lacrymosa and Sanctus of the next Verdi’s Requiem Kent Nagano ?


It will be recalled that the Mass in b as balanced by Bach’s proportions, such as the diptych And incarnatus-Cruxifixus is the heart, the center, and that a ” centre “, this comes in the middle of a performance, not after 10 minutes of an autonomous section. Why do we impose it ? Because they are not interpreters “renowned” ? Imagine, for a moment, 30 years ago, the manager of the café of the Berlin Philharmonic say Karajan, before it attack’s the Credo of the Mass : “Hey, my Bébert, this is not the time to believe, here : there are balloons of Sauvignon to publicize ! “


In what world do we live ?

Mass in b minor

Hana Blazikova, Ulrike Malotta, Benno Schachtner, Vaclav Cizek, Tomas Kral, Jaromir Nosek, Collegium 1704, conductor Václav Luks. The Bach Festival. Maison symphonique de Montréal, on Friday 17 November 2017.

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