Concert review: Bach choir offers evening of musical celebration

SA Bach Choir

SA Bach Choir - Credit: Archant

Both conductor and St Albans Bach Choir should be thrilled with their ability to juggle such diverse musical styles as they demonstrated so ably on Saturday evening.

For the audience were first treated to the less famous but very beautiful music of Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor which was then followed by the serene and poised Faure’s Requiem.

Mozart provided the conductor Andrew Lucas with the opportunity to demonstrate the choir’s capacity to deal with the complexities of both operatic skill and baroque counterpoint in the same work.

The Gloria exploded with a wonderful sense of energy and spirit. The orchestra, Sinfonia Verdi provided rich orchestral textures whilst the choir were able to enjoy the fruits of their rigorous rehearsal schedule in the choral counterpoint.

The “Qui tollis peccata mundi” also gave Andrew Lucas the scope to provide a beautiful range of dynamic colouring and blending as well as a good balance between choir and orchestra.

Martha McLorinan, (mezzo soprano) showed true class in the challenging passages of the “Laudamus te”and the “Domine Dei” duet with Rowan Pierce was delightful.

One of the gems though had to be the”Et incarnatus est” in the Credo which Mozart scored for soprano solo and wind ensemble. The sonorous blend of harmonies coupled with the pure voice of Rowan Pierce, soaring gently above was truly magical.

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The second half was composed of Faure’s Requiem and provided a delightful contrast to the intricacies of the Mozart. It gave Jonathan Best (baritone), an opportunity to shine in “Libera me“ while the orchestra also shone in the opening of the “Offertory”.

Pauline Lowbury, leader of Sinfonia Verdi, presented a fine violin solo which with some poised playing by the harpist hovered beautifully above the choir in the “Sanctus”.

“Pie Jesu”, a standard part of a soprano’s repertoire, was another gem in what was a glittering evening of musical celebration.