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BCS - Concert Review
BCS Next Concert

Concert
Review

7.30pm
29 Mar 2014

Bath Abbey

© Peter Bradshaw

Extracts from the Bath Chronicle review of the Mozart and Stravinsky concert:

Mozart and Stravinsky: a sense of musical diversity, contrasting the joyous exuberance of Mozart with the more austere harmonic progressions of Stravinsky. The Russian Orthodox Mass, with its plangent wind accompaniment, and the Roman Catholic setting, warmer and fuller in tone. How well it worked! There were three short pieces before the settings of the Mass: Mozart's Regina Coeli and Ave Verum, sung without copies - as it should be: and Stravinsky's beautiful Ave Maria, short but so effective in its apparent simplicity. They were sung with an ethereal luminosity, which, for once, was aided by the Abbey acoustic, although it did sometimes affect the balance between soloists and players.

The Stravinsky Mass, with its forceful wind accompaniment, is a cleverly written combination of solos and chorus, giving each some dramatically powerful moments. The opening Gloria has the dissonance we associate with Stravinsky, yet the Confiteor was warm and restful. A striking trumpet introduction leads to the peace of the final Agnus Dei.

The Mozart Mass in C Minor has a sense of effervescent elation, the choruses full of warmth and ebullience, to which the choir responded in fine style, singing with grace and elegance, yet with the power and emphasis the music requires. And the quiet singing, too, was carefully controlled and sensitive. The soloists were soprano Ruth Jenkins, fearless in the high register: mezzo Katie Bray, resonant and urgent: tenor Thomas Herford and bass Oliver Hunt were very well matched in the Stravinsky Sanctus. Will Dawes had these very different styles very much under control and the results were extremely impressive. This is a big choir - over a hundred in the programme - but they are controlled and accurate, producing a fine big choral sound when required.

Bath Chronicle, 31 March 2014


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