Page last updated April 27, 2009 by Ian Downie


Aberdeen Bach Choir at St Machar’s Cathedral April 26 2009

Bach’s Mass in B Minor is widely regarded as one of the composer’s supreme achievements. Started in 1733 for diplomatic reasons, it was finished in the very last years of Bach’s life, when he had already gone blind.

The performance of this seminal work may in fact have been one of the motives behind the formation of the Aberdeen Bach Choir in its original form almost a century ago.

In fact the Choir has performed just a handful of Bach’s short works since Gordon Jack the Choir’s Musical Director took up the position. However, as he pointed out in his programme notes to last night’s concert this is something that is being addressed.

Although the Choir seems to be top and bottom heavy at the moment and light in the middle – there were 75 sopranos and altos singing in St Machar’s Cathedral last night as opposed to 9 very brave tenors, the overall quality and depth of the Choir sounded satisfyingly authentic and ultimately very moving.

Four professional soloists - the Soprano Joanne Dexter, the Mezzo-Soprano Deborah Miles-Johnston, the Tenor Andrew King and the Bass Stephen Roberts accompanied by the Aberdeen Sinfonietta performed with energy and commitment in a work that can sometimes seem fickle - light and breezy one moment, dark and broody the next.

The Sinfonietta’s woodwind and brass sections deserve special praise, as does Roger Williams whose harpsichord formed an axis of strength around which all the solos and ensemble pieces came to thrilling life.

Review by Roddy Phillips, Press & Journal Monday 27 April 2009

Reproduced by kind permission of the author