Bach: Mass in B Minor

TONY COOPER St Andrew's Hall, Norwich

TONY COOPER

St Andrew's Hall, Norwich

Richard Cooke, music director of the Royal Choral Society, conducted the University of Essex Choir in a splendid and memorable performance of this inspiring work in a concert marking his 25th anniversary as the choir's guide and mentor.

His reading and interpretation was firmly drilled into the singers with steadfast authority. They admirably rose to the challenge and produced clarity and tonal colour which was pure delight.

In many ways, it reminded me of the halcyon days of UEA choir under Philip Ledger and Peter Aston.

The soloists were equally matched with Claire Tomlin (soprano) and Catherine King (alto) singing with tenderness and beauty while Allan Clayton (tenor) produced a nice rounded tone with Stephen Varcoe (bass) heard to striking effect in a solo accompanied by Andrew Clark playing superbly the corno da caccia (hunting horn).

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Three baroque trumpeters added that extra punch while members of the London Handel Orchestra (playing on period instruments) wrapped up a performance that I would stick my neck out and say was one of the best I've ever heard.

The audience roared and stamped their approval in an elongated curtain call that made the noise-limiter hit its mark!

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