April 4, 2016
Small companies in New York take on the Met
By ALEX ROSS
The New Yorker
... The crushing greatness of Bach’s two extant Passion settings, which invariably make multiple appearances in the weeks before Easter, has often discouraged latter-day composers from treading the same ground. One who dared was the Swiss master Frank Martin, whose oratorio “Golgotha” had its première in 1949. The work has received several fine recordings, notably a version on Harmonia Mundi, but until this year it had had only one live performance in New York. At Trinity Wall Street recently, the New Amsterdam Singers, an amateur chorus under the direction of Clara Longstreth, presented an intrepid revival of “Golgotha,” with the baritone Tyler Duncan impeccable in the role of Jesus. Outwardly austere, seething with inner drama, this is the only modern Passion that breathes the same air as Bach’s, and its neglect defies comprehension.