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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31, No. 25. October 8, 1968

Concerts — Bach choir sings


Bach choir sings

The second Bach Choir concert for 1968 proved to be of high musical standard. It included a number of little known work such as Bach's motet for double choir, "Kom-in, Jesus, Komin" and Michael Tippet's "Magnificat and Nuno Dimittis", a colourful choral work in the contemprary English style.

The concert opened with the motet "Salvator Mundi" by John Blow, a 17th century English composer and organist at Westminster Abbey. The choir handled the difficult part writing with control and precision and succeeded in creating a suitable atmosphere for this type of non-secular choral music.

The choir achieved more of Bach's essence in the Four Chorales and their preludes than in the infrequently performed motet "Komin, Jesus, Komin". The organ preludes were expertly played by Dennis Smalley. It seemed unfortunate however, that the choir was forced to remain standing during these rather lengthy works. The choir's singing of the chorales was excellent, with adequate attention to subtleties in phrasing.

The highlight of the concert, was Benjamin Britten's superb, cantata "Rejoice in the Lamb", with a deeply spiritual yet delightful text by the mentally deranged 18th century poet, Christopher Smart. Credit must be given to the conductor, Anthony Jennings, whose understanding of the work was evident throughout. The intricacies of the writing, with a complex organ part, were all observed and the effect was one of brilliance.

Tippet's "Magnificat and Nune Dimittis", a trite though attractive work, came off extremely well, with sensitive work both by the choir and soloist.

The Bach Choir showed once again that a youthful enthusiastic conductor supported by an equally youthful group of singers, can produce exceptional quality.