Melbourne Bach Choir: Mozart Vespers, Bach Treasures

A newly established Easter competition on the Melbourne Recital Centre has given lovers of Bach’s biggest works a high quality selection of concert events on Good Friday and Easter Saturday. To assemble groups of choirs, instrumentalists, soloists, venue employees and audiences at this important spiritual/vacation interval is a big enterprise, so we should congratulate creative director Rick Prakhoff and the Melbourne Bach Choir and Orchestra for this “Easter feast of music”. Bach’s St Matthew Ardour might have been seen as the biggest and most dramatic occasion to draw audiences to those live performance performances on Good Friday, as a smaller however keen and supportive viewers welcomed the ultimate live performance of Bach’s very particular however much less monumental works: Orchestral Suite No 3 in D and Cantata BWV 66, and Mozart’s very lovely and standard Vespers. In his welcoming handle conductor Rick Prakhoff counseled all contributors within the three concert events of the competition, however needed to inform the viewers of COVID points inflicting an surprising lack of a small quantity choristers from this night’s efficiency with the Bach Chamber Choir.

However it was a powerful and affirmative Overture that shortly established an sincere interpretation of the creating types of instrumental music within the early 18th century. Timpani and three trumpets bolstered stately and dignified opening dotted rhythms, with two oboes, strings and harpsichord including a formidable sound by way of the extra sensible quicker fugal improvement. Orchestral Chief, violinist Madeleine Easton, adopted the custom of standing for her in depth solos, nonetheless speaking effectively in her management function with the ensemble, as her exact Baroque strains wove repeatedly heat strains, however she was over-shadowed at occasions by a strong string part and shiny, persuasive trumpets. The contrasting motion, Air (on the G String), moved fairly freely with a refreshing ahead tempo, though once more some important violin solo phrases have been over-shadowed by the stronger ensemble. In Gavotte we heard some high quality unison taking part in, and a captivating realisation of the French dance parts with sturdy pulses and rhythmic thrust from cello, bass and timpani. Bourree and Gigue gave us safe and boisterous music to bop our cares away, with color and pleasure coming from alternating and imitative ensemble sections.

 Cantata BWV 66, Erfreut euch ihr Herzen (Rejoice, ye hearts) is a piece in six sections the place Bach offers us considered one of his longest and most exuberant opening Refrain sections previous alternating tenor, alto and bass recitatives resulting in a powerful closing Chorale hymn. Mezzo-soprano Shakira Dugan, tenor Timothy Reynolds and baritone Christopher Tonkin produced well-enunciated textual content and expression, the male voices having the benefit of Bach writing nearly all of the textual content the place sturdy proclamations have been required, though some pure efficiency nervousness affected a number of particulars in stability and ensemble. In No 4 Recitative and Arioso for tenor (representing Hope) and alto (Worry) Bach reveals related writing and fewer “word-painting” than in his dramatic liturgical works, so it was in No 5 Aria (Duet) for Alto and Tenor, (generally carried out with two male voices) that Shakira Dugan may soar with elevated dramatic projection above Reynolds’s stronger strains. In each work, continuo musicians Roseanne Hunt (cello), and Chad Kelly (harpsichord and chapel organ) performed an impressive function. This small ensemble was fantastically balanced, delightfully expressive and hopeful in spirit, regardless of the seriousness of the textual content: “I don’t concern the grave’s darkness”. Most spectacular and hanging in orchestral and choral punctuation, was the closing quick verse Chorale, with the Bach Chamber Choir’s exact and emphatic supply of the quick texts “Alleluja” and “Lord, have mercy”.

Mozart’s Solemn Vespers K339 was the featured second a part of this Easter feast. Three high quality trombones and a bassoon added to the considerably contrasting symphonic textures and majestic choral writing in Mozart’s settings of 5 psalms and shutting Magnificat. Soprano Lorina Gore joined our three soloists, unusually unfold broadly throughout entrance of stage, two on all sides of the conductor. With the rising use of iPads/tablets in performances, it’s a distraction if a soloist is utilizing a distinct rating. Ought to a pill have technical issues, which was the case tonight, there shall be ensemble uncertainty.

Tenor Timothy Reynolds should be extremely counseled for his excellent supply of tone, expression, diction and resonant magnificence in all solo work, whereas Lorina Gore exuded smiles, heat and delight with having the prized second to carry out the Laudate Dominum. This was the fantastic second we had anticipated, Mozart’s lyrical and heart-felt masterpiece, with Gore delivering a colourful and crystal clear efficiency. In a church setting the extra resonant acoustic often requires an imposing and extra sedate tempo, however Prakhoff steered the ensemble ahead with a lighter flowing tempo, maybe lessening the thriller, reverential awe and deeply religious connection of this elegant work.

With the Bach Orchestra offering splendid accompaniment to the choristers, who had clearly labored tirelessly by way of two days of demanding choral efficiency, it was comprehensible that refrain members, notably sopranos have been a bit diminished of their energy and shine, however actually each voice rose in confidence for every dynamic “Amen”.

Picture provided.


Julie McErlain reviewed “Mozart Vespers, Bach Treasures”, introduced by the Melbourne Bach Choir on the Melbourne recital centre on April 16, 2022.


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