From Russia With Love

11/11/2016

The audience arrived and left in falling snow and were seated amid soft candlelight in the beautiful Norman church so appropriate to this paean of praise to God. The All-Night Vigil is a cappella choral composition of Russian Orthodox liturgy.It includes three styles of unaccompanied chant written for... 

50 Years of 50 Carols

11/11/2016

Anyone who has ever sung in a choir at Christmas time will probably know the Carols For Choirs series. The first one was published 50 years ago and contains 50 carols. In festive celebration and as a fund-raiser, the Reading Bach Choir organised a marathon carol-sing. There was a workshop in the morning... 

Bach Choir pulls off tricky repertoire

11/11/2016

With a disciplined entrance and the visual tone nicely set the concert kicked off — rather ambitiously — with Muhly’s I Cannot Attain Unto It. Although the choir was perhaps a degree or two out of their comfort zone in this tricky modern piece, it provided an ethereal and undeniably ear-catching... 

Pride in Choir

11/11/2016

The arresting opening piece was Johann Michael’s lively motet for double choir, Fürchtet euch nicht, which deals with the shepherds’ part of the nativity story. Johann Ludwig’s Das ist meine Freude, a motet for eight voices, only survived because the great Bach copied it for use in his own church... 

Glorious musical evening

11/11/2016

This is truly a glorious genre of European music, and the concert featured arguably the greatest baroque composer of them all – J S Bach – with his contemporary Antonio Lotti. It is known that Bach had a copy of the Lotti Missa Sapientiae (performed by the choir at this concert), and that he studied... 

Seeing the light in Choir’s exquisite programme

11/11/2016

His special gift to us this fine June afternoon was to introduce two composers from Holland, neither well known to many in the UK – Frank Martin, (b. Geneva, 1939) and Daan Manneke, whose Psalmes 121 and 122 began this exquisite programme. Though the two psalms would seem to follow in sequence, they... 

Concert was musical journey through all emotions

11/11/2016

The choir and the soloists gave a truly magnificent performance, exploiting the full range of dynamics and exciting rhythmic changes. The soloists, sopranos Catherine Bass and Esther Levin, counter-tenor Simon Clulow, tenors Luke Phillips and Nicholas Richards and bass Roger Williams stood as part of... 

Monteverdi vespers of 1640

11/11/2016

The choir’s repertoire ranges from the Renaissance to the present, and often features unfamiliar, challenging works. Saturday’s concert was typically fearless, taking the audience on a journey through 17th century Europe with pieces by Monteverdi – including the joyful Vespers of 1640 – and the... 

Skilful Passion

11/11/2016

The dramatic harmony and balance between the two choirs and orchestra worked beautifully. The choruses were exciting and the chorales smooth and confident. Christopher Watson as the Evangelist gave an outstanding and sensitive performance, but it would have been appreciated by the audience if he and... 

It doesn’t come better than this

11/11/2016

There is a timeless spirituality about Reading Bach Choir performing JS Bach. Their St Matthew Passion was sublime. Perfectionist JanJoost van Elburg rehearsed them long and hard and the resulting performance was sheer joy, written on the faces of performers and audience alike at the end. Over three...