11. A year without the Mattheus (29-3-2020)
A year without the Mattheus (29-3-2020)
Written by: Jan Luiten van Zanden
It will be a year without the Mattheus (or St. Matthews) Passion, without going to one of the performances, and without taking part in one.
Other things I miss even more, but no Mattheus is also a big blow. When some 8 years ago I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s I wondered if I had a bucket list and what was on it. And yes, I found out that it consisted of one thing only: singing the Mattheus as member of a choir. I had enjoyed Bach’s music all my life, but never tried to sing in a choir, so this was the moment to try this. I took singing lessons, joined the Bachcantates (who perform a cantate every month) to get some practice, and after some time joined a decent choir – one of the many in Utrecht – that performed the Mattheus. I discovered that I could do this, and that it was not only fun, but at times a deep emotional experience. As a real junky I have been singing in different choirs since, not only performing Bach’s incredible music – including Johannes Passion and Hohe Messe – but also Verdi, Faure, Schütz, Mozart, Handel, Mendelssohn. My teacher made me sing Schubert (at a basic level, of course), and together with Josine, Keetie, Jessica, Bram and Gerard we started the esgo ensemble, well known for its contributions to parties and anniversaries. So I added a new dimension to life – Mr P (short for Parkinson’s) brought me closer to Bach.
And that is what I miss these days. It does not make a lot of sense to practice at home as it is unclear when the next performance will be. I have tried to deal with the current setback in a similar way; by forcing myself to write a daily blog, I hope to cope with the dramatic loss of agency corona is causing. It really structures my life to sit down at my desk every morning, with a plan for a new blog, and write it down. It is nice to have you as my captive audience – I can write whatever I like as we are among friends. And so I will survive even a year without the Mattheus.
Continue reading: The group portrait as an institution (30-3-2020)