German composer Buxtehude in Utrecht cathedral … (but is it Buxtehude?)


24 November 2007.

Today, again to the cathedral of Utrecht, for a classical music concert.

This time, it was Actus III of “Das jüngste Gericht” (The Last Judgment), by German composer Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707). However, the German language Wikipedia doubts whether Buxtehude is really the author of this music. The words are fire and brimstone about sinners and their eternal damnation in hell, according to seventeenth century Christian theology.

There were many more vocalists and instrumentalists than at earlier concerts I have heard here.

There were, for solo singing, two sopranos, one alto, a tenor, and a bass. Also, the big choir of the cathedral.

The orchestra, directed by Remco de Graas, consisted of six violins; six alto violins; two cellos; two double basses; one viola da gamba; one bass lute; one bassoon; one clavichord; and an organ of the church.

The big orchestra and choir meant that this time, the music had to be played at a different place than I had heard at earlier concerts with less musicians here. It came from where the altar used to be before the sixteenth century iconoclasm of the Reformation. This made for some acoustics problems.

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