Who knows why, but Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” is enjoying a resurgence. You used to hear this massive sacred oratorio once every few seasons, but a recent performance at the Music Center at Strathmore was the third major one in this region in less than a year.
The Bach Choir of Bethlehem, founded in the 19th century, has gained international recognition through its annual Bach Festival, tours and recordings. Supplemented at this performance by the Millersville University Keystone Singers, the more than 100 vocalists displayed clean tone, excellent pitch and blend, and kept good tempo even in the most stressful numbers. The only quibble would relate to diction, which was neglected. Choir directors I’ve worked under spent inordinate amounts of time on placement and exaggerated projection of consonants, without which there’s essentially no text. And particularly since the choir offered “Elijah” in an English translation, it would behoove its members to work a little harder in this area. But otherwise the choral element was outstanding — energetic and crisp.