Aberdeen Bach Choir at St Machar’s Cathedral April 25 2010

Press & Journal Review by Roddy Phillips

The idea of creating a choral programme based on music composed at the 18th century Austrian court of Esterházy is a clever one, even if it is basically limited to the works of Haydn and his successor Hummel.

For their superb concert in St Machar’s Cathedral last night the Aberdeen Bach Choir performed Haydn’s Harmoniemesse and Hummel’s Te Deum however, the programme was broadened to include Beethoven’s Mass in C. This work was famously the source of a life long grudge held by Beethoven after it failed to make an impression at its first performance before Prince Esterhazy.

Rather unusually last night the Bach Choir was accompanied by the excellent City of Glasgow Symphony Orchestra led by Roger Foxwell and conducted by the Choir’s Musical Director Gordon Jack. This is the first time I’ve heard the GSO performing with the Choir and the result was highly effective, producing a vast sound picture that was richly textured and satisfyingly powerful.

The Choir responded with the sort of committed singing that has earned them such an enviable reputation over the years. This was a demanding programme and they delivered it with consistent energy and clarity filling the vaulted cathedral spaces with a glorious multi-layered sound.

The icing on this magnificently Classical cake was the sublime combination of the four outstanding soloists, the Soprano Julia Kennard, the Mezzo-Soprano Vanessa Williamson, the Tenor Andrew Murgatroyd and the Bass Michael Pearce, all of whom performed with thrilling conviction.

It’s a shame we have to wait until December to hear the Bach Choir again.


Published in The Press and Journal on Monday 26 April 2010
and reproduced by kind permission of Roddy Phillips