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Choral Workshop 2017
Dvorak: Mass in D
Saturday 28 January 2017
St Michael’s Without, Bath

Bath Bach Choir’s famous annual workshop features the Dvorak Mass in D: a beautiful, romantic gem of a piece in which Slavic edginess meets mellifluous, Brahmsian melodies. In this lighthearted study day, you will enjoy discovering wonderful, folkloric choruses you may never have heard before, and everybody gets to sing the solos. Brahms wrote of Dvorak: “The fellow has more ideas than any of us.” We can’t wait to try them out.

Allegri: Miserere
Fauré: Cantique de Jean Racine
Macmillan: Cantos Sagadros
Dvorak: Mass in D
Saturday 25 March 2017
7.30pm  |  Bath Abbey

Songs through a stained-glass window
Bath Bach Choir’s spring concert brings together four sacred works that one would expect to hear performed in an abbey or cathedral, yet which could not be more different from one another – spanning, as they do, over 350 years of musical evolution. Allegri’s Miserere was composed in the 1630s for the choir of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Today this setting of Psalm 51 is sung every Maundy Thursday in Britain’s cathedrals, its haunting tones instantly recognisable even to those who know little sacred choral music. Fauré’s Cantique de Jean Racine (1865) is one of his best-loved works, renowned for its rich harmonies and beautiful, flowing accompaniment. Dvorak’s Mass in D (1887) is a romantic gem of a piece, in which Slavic edginess meets mellifluous, Brahmsian melodies. It contains wonderful, folkloric choruses you may well be hearing for the first time. James MacMillan’s Cantos Sagrados (1990) – sacred songs – are edge-of-the-seat settings of three modern secular poems about political repression in South America, coupled with traditional sacred Latin texts.

J S Bach
Magnificat in D
Great Mass in C Minor
Saturday 1 July 2017
7.30pm  |  Bath Abbey

For this special concert, exactly 70 years on from its first public performance, Bath Bach Choir will perform two of the greatest works of the choral repertoire. Bach’s Magnificat – Mary’s song of praise – was composed for Vespers in St Thomas’s Leipzig on Christmas Day 1723. A masterpiece even by Bach’s standards, the music is exuberant and gentle by turns, illuminating the text with absolute genius. Its three trumpets lend a regal pomp and celebratory brilliance, and are juxtaposed with some eloquent solo arias reflecting Mary’s sense of humility. Mozart had promised that if he married Constanze Weber he would write a mass for her and her sister to sing. His Great Mass in C minor was composed for a special occasion in Salzburg in 1783, although never finished. Full of Bach-influenced grandeur and colourful Italianate excesses, it calls for double choir and two virtuosic solo sopranos, whose suitably operatic coloratura arias are a highlight of the piece. 

Verity Wingate soprano 
Anna Sideris soprano 
Stephen Harvey counter-tenor 
Kieran White tenor 
Julien van Mellaerts bass 

Southern Sinfonia 
Nigel Perrin conductor

A Concert of Remembrance
Saturday 11 November 2017
7.30pm  |  Malmesbury Abbey

Bath Bach Choir presents a programme of music to reflect our thoughts on the eve of Remembrance Sunday. Starting at the west end, the choir will sing a brief but intense setting of Cordero de Dios (Lamb of God) from Paco Peña’s Missa Flamenca. Following The Beatitudes by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt the choir will process to the chancel steps and perform the main work of the concert: Pizzetti’s Messa di Requiem. With five a cappella movements, and lasting about 30 minutes, it is an outstanding early 20th-century work – strongly theatrical and passionate, but with clear influences of Palestrina. After the interval comes the first movement of Howard Goodall’s Eternal Light: A Requiem, which lyrically sets the text ‘Close now thine eyes and rest secure’; this is followed by Tavener’s familiar and much loved Song for Athene, as sung at Princess Diana’s funeral, and In Remembrance, an engagingly beautiful motet, with its moving text ‘Do not stand at my grave and weep’, by the Canadian composer Eleanor Daley. Finally, to end on a positive note, Eric Whitacre’s Cloudburst, with piano and some percussion, is a celebration of rebirth and renewal. The audience will be required to help create the sound of a rainstorm!

Carols by Candlelight 2017
13 December 2017
7.30pm  |  St Michael’s Without, Bath

14 & 15 December 2017
7.30pm  |  The Pump Room, Bath

Bath Bach Choir presents its annual entertaining mix of Christmas music and audience participation, to mark the true start of Christmas in Bath. In celebration of our 70th anniversary season, we will perform the world premiere of a carol composed by Jonathan Willcocks and commissioned especially for the occasion. This year the first performance will be held at the church of St Michael’s Without, while for the second and third performances the choir returns to its usual haunt (since 1947), the Pump Room. Expect children’s choirs, young virtuosos from Wells Cathedral School and conductorly banter as Nigel Perrin gets the audience onto its feet.