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Autumn Gold

19 November 2011

Birmingham Bach Choir
Birmingham Oratory

Birmingham Bach Choir gave a thrilling performance at the City's Oratory Over a cracking programme, the Birmingham Bach Choir displayed a wealth of qualities and gave a performance of which they should be truly proud. The static, a capella textures of John Tavener's Mother of God, and two works by American composer Eric Whitacre, placed big demands on breath-control and tuning. But the group met these superbly. Whitacre's ethereal Lux Aurumque shimmered in all the right places, but second on the bill did feel a tad early for this luminous show-stopper.
At the concert's heart were the canticles of Byrd's Great Service, so-called for its grand polyphonic design and antiphonal architecture. For all its technical complexity, Paul Spicer coaxed a performance of excellent clarity, his group phrasing lyrical contours with real beauty, and conjuring an incredible intimacy given their some sixty members.
The choir sing with an infectious enthusiasm, and their ability to give such a joyous account of Bach's fiendish motet Singet dem Herrn, is proof. With organ accompaniment from Alexander Norman, the group attacked the work with a vigour that was thrilling from the outset, and drew a praiseworthy evening to a magnificent close.

Verdict * * * *
Elmley de la Cour
Birmingham Post - 24.11.11

Birmingham Oratory