Director JanJoost van Elburg
Organ Steven Hollas
Gamba Henrik Persson
Violone Jan Spencer
Review submitted by John Mingay
A superb choral concert promoted by Blackdowns Early Music Project took place recently at S. John’s Parish Church, Wellington. The cleverly designed programme called ‘J.S. Bach’s Inspirations’ presented wonderful music that most of the audience will never have previously heard. The extensive and informative programme notes were therefore of great assistance in pin-pointing some of the rich back-ground which led to that final flowering of the ‘high baroque’ period, the great Johann Sebastian Bach.
As the programme moved from the mid 16th century through to the man himself one was constantly aware of the ingenuity and variety in the character of the works. One of the most favoured devices was the use of the double choir. This was evidenced in several of the pieces performed creating a full texture to the overall aural picture. In general however, one could have wished the singers had given more shape and vigour to the enunciation of the German texts.
As a foil to this choral splendour we were treated to delightful instrumental pieces. In the first half a Canon for two viole di gamba and organ was played by Henrik Persson, Jan Spencer and Steven Hollas. In the second part two of Dietrich Buxtehude’s shorter organ pieces were deftly played by Steven on the charming little chamber organ. ( These were just before the final motets by Johann Sebastian, perfect planning, it is well known the younger man journeyed many miles to hear and learn from the elderly Buxtehude. )
It was good to see the flexible seating in the church turned to face the west end of the building. With the main organ case as a backdrop the 30 singers (who came from far and wide especially for this concert), chamber organ, and two string instruments had space to project into the building with great clarity.
The goodly audience have to be grateful not only to the splendid choir who sang with confidence and fine intonation but especially to the conductor JanJoost van Elburg for devising and delivering such a rewarding experience.
John Patrick Mingay
J. Walter – Veni Sancte Spiritus
J. Walter – Nun bitten wir
M. Franck – Cantate Domino
M. Franck – Unser Leben währet siebzig Jahr
J.L. Bach – Unsere Trübsal
J.L. Bach – Gedenke meiner, mein Gott
Pachelbel – Magnificat à 4
J. Bach – Unser Leben ist ein Schatten
J.C. Bach – Fürchte dich nicht
J.S. Bach – Ich lasse dich nicht
J.S. Bach – Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf