Choral Workshop 2019
Saturday 26 January 2019
St Michael’s Without, Bath
Our Mozart Requiem workshop on 26 January 2019 was led by not one but two inspirational choral directors. Bath Bach Choir's musical director Nigel Perrin was joined by guest conductor Peter Leech, fresh from directing the annual Tallis Voices promenade concert in Wells Cathedral. Known for his innovative approach to music-making and strong following in the south-west, Peter had struck up an enthusiastic rapport with Bath Bach Choir when he guest-conducted our Venetian Vespers concert at Prior Park. We were delighted to work with Nigel and Peter on aspects of Mozart’s seminal choral work, and it was brilliant to see so many guests for this great day of singing. See you next year!
An Evening with J S Bach
Saturday 30 March 2019
7.30pm | Bath Abbey
Komm, Jesu, komm | Jesu, meine Freude
Singet dem Herrn | Lobet den Herrn
Organ solos played by Marcus Sealy on the Klais organ
Toccata in the Dorian mode (BWV 538)
Sonatina from Cantata 106
Sinfonia from Cantata 29
This intimate concert sees Bath Bach Choir return to its roots, showcasing two contrasting genres of Bach’s genius. Interspersed with the choir’s performance of four of his outstanding German motets, composed in the 1720s for the choir of St Thomas’s Leipzig, Marcus Sealy will perform two of Bach’s most scintillating organ works, using the full range of the abbey’s magnificent Klais organ.
Bach spent his last 27 years as Kantor (director of music) at the Thomasschule attached to the church of St Thomas in Leipzig. His gruelling workload included teaching, producing music for services at four churches in the town, and providing compositions for important civic occasions. The motets were written during this extraordinarily busy period. In our concert we contrast the joyful sounds of Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden (Praise the Lord, all ye heathens) and Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied (Sing unto the Lord a new song) with the more contemplative Jesu, meine Freude (Jesu, my joy) and Komm, Jesu, komm (Come, Jesu, come). Bach would occasionally have made use of organ and cello continuo in St Thomas’s, and we will be using this authentic device for our concert also.
The last time Bath Bach Choir performed Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden it was in front of Bach’s grave at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig – an unforgettable moment in this choir’s history. We look forward to giving an equally inspiring performance on 30 March 2019.
Saturday 6 July 2019
7.30pm | Wells Cathedral
Guest artist Carolyn Sampson
Mozart Exsultate Jubilate
Haydn Kyrie & Benedictus from the ‘Nelson Mass’
Bath Bach Choir will perform its 2019 summer concert in front of the famous Scissor Arches at Wells Cathedral. The programme, which brings together Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate, excerpts from Haydn’s Nelson Mass and the great Mozart Requiem, fulfils a long-held wish of the choir’s musical director, Nigel Perrin, to invite coloratura soprano Carolyn Sampson to perform with the choir. Miss Sampson’s 2019 schedule includes Bach in Tokyo, Handel in Philadelphia and, now, Mozart in Wells.
Exsultate Jubilate – today one of Mozart’s best-known pieces of sacred solo music – is also a piece for which Carolyn Sampson is renowned, having made what is held by many to be the definitive recording. Although Mozart was just 16 when he wrote it, to many it’s the sound of a genius at the peak of his imaginative powers. Mozart’s Requiem transports us to the far end of his short life, and the work he believed he was composing for his own death, even though history confirms that it was commissioned by an Austrian count. He died before it was completed, and it remains one of the most powerful and poignant pieces in the choral repertoire. In lieu of an overture the concert opens with the ‘Kyrie’ from Joseph Haydn's so-called Nelson Mass which, along with trumpets and timpani, also showcases the coloratura solo soprano voice.
There is one intriguing link between the elements of this evening’s concert. Mozart wrote Exsultate Jubilate in 1773 for an Italian castrato opera singer named Venanzio Rauzzini, to wow audiences in Milan. Rauzzini eventually settled in Bath in 1780 and became director of the New Assembly Room Concerts. Haydn stayed with him as a guest for six weeks in 1794. Rauzzini died in 1810, and is buried in Bath Abbey.
We look forward to a feast of fabulous music for a midsummer’s evening in the majestic surroundings of Wells Cathedral.
Carolyn Sampson soprano
Alison Kettlewell mezzo-soprano
Nathan Vale tenor
Stephen Connolly bass
Nigel Perrin conductor
The Long Day Closes
Saturday 26 October 2019
7.30pm | Prior Park Chapel, Bath
Josef Rheinberger’s double-choir a cappella Cantus Missae (1878), around which our autumn programme is shaped, was composed 15 years after Prior Park Chapel was built. In harking back to late-Renaissance splendour – the mass with its joyful, lyrical antiphony, the chapel with an acoustic that resonates through its soaring arches – they belong to each other perfectly. The mass is one of conductor Nigel Perrin’s favourite works, although it is not Rheinberger’s best known: that honour falls to Abendlied (Evening Song) which forms the theme for the rest of this evening’s collage of beautiful choral music.
Inspired by the going down of the day – both literal and metaphorical – the programme moves from a Renaissance compline to Sullivan’s emotive The Long Day Closes, via Gibbons, Pearsall, Rachmaninov and contemporary favourite Ola Gjeilo. Adding a layer of improvisation over several of the songs, saxophonist Katie Bunney (Bath Young Musician 2018) will complete our ethereal sound-world.
Katie Bunney saxophone
Marcus Sealy keyboard
Nigel Perrin conductor