A leading member of London’s music community (who requests anonymity) has posted this notice:
Tonight I walked out of my first Prom, paradoxically given by some of the greatest musicians in the world: the Berlin Phil/Rattle.
It was not the ludicrous production by (Peter) Sellars: I can cope with the Evangelist snogging the main soloists.
It was the completely misconceived musical interpretation by Rattle, a musician I have up to now admired. He had no idea about the music and its purpose. It was only a soundtrack to a production where Jesus seemed to be a bit part.
The great Christian Gerhaher remained aloof and unkissed (don’t know what happened in Part 2). Rattle seemed to have no feeling for the hymns (or anything else), especially the chorale prelude at the end of the first part. (The chorus had already fled to the flies by then).
There was no sense of the numinous or the profound. I wanted to leave after about bar 13 of the opening chorus. The inner parts of the orchestra sleek and velvety, like a Mercedes driving over the rutted cart-tracks of 18th-century Leipzig, Bach’s world and autograph manuscript. A shameful night.
photo (c) Chris Christodoulou/Lebrecht Music&Arts