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Mass in B Minor

St John's Church, Keswick
14 May 2017

What a wonderful celebration of this outstanding choir’s 20th Anniversary! The Wordsworth Singers’ performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s great B minor Mass, without doubt one of the greatest and most satisfying choral works ever written, was magnificent, to say the least.

While the spring evening sunshine flooded St John’s Church with gloriously warm light, the radiance of Bach’s glorious music filled it with wonderful choral and orchestral sounds from the very first bar of the music.

The positioning of the choir on and immediately behind the chancel steps above the orchestra gave immediacy to their singing and, by slightly reducing the reverberation often noticeable when singing further back in the chancel, allowed the words to be projected clearly.

Many sublime moments of exquisite beauty were experienced as the various sections of Bach’s great masterpiece unfolded over and around the capacity audience.The Adderbury Ensemble, made up of principal players from several leading orchestras, accompanied the choir throughout the performance with great accuracy, musicality and sensitivity, ranging from the quietest solo arias to full choruses at maximum volume. Perhaps the greatest emotional highlights of the concert were the opening and closing sections of the Gloria and the mighty Sanctus, in which the trumpets and timpani featured

so impressively.

The five soloists, Julie Leavett (soprano), Fiona Weakley (soprano), Anne-Marie Kerr (alto), Dominic Bevan (tenor) and Jonathan Millican (bass), performed their solos with admirable clarity and expression.

Throughout the entire work, the conductor, Mark Hindley, directed the choir and orchestra with exemplary precision and maintained an excellent rapport with all performers, which allowed everyone in the building to enjoy this marvellous evening of music making.

MIKE TOWN