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Beginnings and Endings

13 March 2004
St. Paul's Church, Birmingham

"Delicacy and Power"

Although ‘Beginnings and Endings’ was intended to provide a loosely-knit theme for Saturday’s programme from the Birmingham Bach Choir, the concept was brought vividly to life in performance through the power of its two centrepiece works, Copland’s In the Beginning and Parry’s Songs of Farewell.

The simplicity and lapping waves of sound in Dove’s Wellcome, all Wonders in one Sight were delivered effectively and warmly, but it was the Copland that proved just how impressively this choir can deal with the rigours of 20th century a capella repertoire. Bitingly clear diction, cleanly sung lines, and an exhilarating dynamic range fuelled an infectiously buoyant response to Copland’s characterisation of the Genesis story.

Engaging fully with the courage and final, shattering pathos of Parry’s six songs, the BBC revealed further and contrasting strengths in a confident, rich sound, sprightly counterpoint, but above all in its exquisite, breath-taking delicacy. Spicer proved his versatility too, with three organ solos, including his own chorale-like Aria and defiantly bouncy March.

Clare Mackney
Birmingham Post

St Paul's Church, St Paul's Square, Jewellery Quarter
St Paul's Church, St Paul's Square, Jewellery Quarter