Last Wednesday, March 13th, Jonathan Palevsky and I hopped in the WBJC traveling booth and flew over to the Music Center at Strathmore for a magical evening of Mendelssohn. Actually, there was no flying except during the soaring performance of Mendelssohn’s masterful oratorio Elijah.
Arriving early at Strathmore to get ourselves situated at the WBJC booth, JP and I met several ushers who are choir singers and WBJC listeners. A couple of them asked after Mark Malinowski. I told them he would have been there with bells on, but there was that little matter of waking up at o’dark hundred to do a radio shift. JP and I also met a number of WBJC friends from Southern Maryland and Washington, DC who made us feel very welcome. It was also nice meeting people who had driven down from Baltimore. Many thanks to everyone who stopped by the WBJC booth to say hello!
At show time JP and I took our seats in the exquisite music hall, where even the Exit signs are elegantly positioned, for a superb musical journey. Greg Funfgeld conducted The Bach Choir of Bethlehem and Bach Festival Orchestra. The vocal soloists were top notch and included soprano Rosa Lamoreaux, mezzo soprano Marietta Simpson, tenor Mark Boyle and bass-baritone Dashon Burton, who blew us all away in his performance as Elijah.
For a man who spent a chunk of his time and energy reviving an interest in J.S. Bach as well as championing the music of Handel, Mendelssohn sure knew how to write a powerful oratorio. In Mendelssohn’s efforts to preserve the works of these baroque giants, their music rubbed off on him and their influence shines brightly in Elijah.
Choir, Oratorio, Strathmore