Prom 26: Bach made simple

I can’t remember when I enjoyed the sheer musicality of Bach’s B Minor Mass more than this Prom performance.  It rang out and sang out with a simply wonderful affection, devotion and drama: but it was never ever dreary, stale or staid.  Bicket’s singers were nicely balanced, poised and lyrical - sweet toned - I’d pick out the bass, Matthew Rose, if only because it was his first time.

The choir were just dreamy - conductors must love choirs that sing like that - each line supported and shaped with a ravishing sound projected across the acres of space in the Albert Hall - and, here’s the rub, only 7 per part!

I’ve never found so much variety in the techniques Bach employs to distinguish the movements nor have I ever found the solos so eminently personal.  Relaxed, straightforward singing paid off to create a marvellous human rite.

Musically too there were three factors coming together which help create a happy medium  There were the clear, clean lines of HIP Bach - small orchestra, no vibrato, bold bouncing rhythms of dance, this was checked by the huge hall and the limits this placed on speeds and expression and finally the sheer quality of the choir and soloists which meant a triangle of forces kept proceedings in balance: Bicket was master of all he surveyed and kept things moving with grace and élan. If ever you wanted to hear a performance that didn't thrown the old school virtues out with the bathwater, this was it.  It was never not profound.

I can’t really say any more than that - if you can see it on BBC iPlayer do so, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.



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