In contrast with some of its past concerts--where a cornucopia of smaller pieces filled the program--the Camerata of Los Angeles offered two sizable works during its season-ending performance Saturday night at Embassy Theatre.
Conductor H. Vincent Mitzelfelt sought the musical high road with his readings of J.S. Bach's Cantata 147, "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben," and Mozart's C-minor Mass: passion, incisive rhythms and a wide dynamic range.
Yet, while the chorus and orchestra followed admirably Mitzelfelt's every crooked finger, only sections of the Mozart benefited from this unsubtle approach, and most of the Bach was made an unstylish, jarring hash.
The closing chorales of the cantata--better known as "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring"--were crisply sung by the reduced chorus, but elsewhere the sopranos and tenors approached their aspirated passagework with rank terror. Of the soloists, only tenor Keith Wyatt seemed to engage himself fully in the music, though his vocal equipment was sometimes inadequate for the task.