The Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys with New York Baroque Inc. • Saint Thomas Church • April 11 2019

The acoustics of the church are divine. The sound weaves itself through the nave and envelops you completely.

I was startled about the diminutive number of boys in the choir. Shouldn't NYC be able to attract more boys to a choir of this stature, a place where they would benefit hugely from its rigorous and sophisticated musical training program? I watched them carefully, looking for those who were energetic and engaged and engaging, just as I did with the children’s choir I used for my Carmen with the KWS. There are always standouts, and those are the leader that will carry out most of the music.

A n excellent cast. Dann Coakwell as the Evangelist was bright and clean, like a path of light. The soprano Sarah Bailey did something that completely bull me away. She literally lifted the room. Pure, unaffected. It looked as if she did nothing out of the ordinary, but the point was that everything in her focussed on just the sound. For this particular setting, it was most effective. The sound radiated in the room, and closing one’s eyes felt right.

I am sometimes torn about Bach. The music os so beautiful, and yet it is missing a human element for me. There is the religious abstraction and a somewhat hysterical exaltation that feels forced to me, as if it wanted to convince me (or itself) of its validity. It’s the protestant thing I also observe in Gospell music. An air of proselytizing that turns me off. Don’t coerce me to come along for the ride. And a ride it is, forever moving forward, never stopping. I prefer to longer and small the roses.