Swingle Singers

MICHAEL DRAKE St John's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Norwich

MICHAEL DRAKE

St John's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Norwich

Ward Swingle's unique choral group has been taking its vocal skills around the world with various personnel for over 40 years and last evening they brought their versions of Bach to the wide acres of the cathedral in a programme called Battle of the Fugues.

Now whether it was the building's space and acoustic, their amplification or a combination I don't know but it was sometimes a battle for balance and consistency of tuning. That said, the a capella ensemble of just eight singers, as usual, created some extraordinary vocal instrumentation starting with the ripieno and concertante of a movement from a Corelli Concerto Grosso.

The near two dozen items were mostly by JS Bach - the early seed of the Swingles - and moved from a laid back harpsichord concerto Largo through the fast and rhythmic Badinerie from an orchestral suite to a Fugue in G minor - jazzed up without changing any original note.

In between, Cathedral organist Dominic de Cogan brought out the fugal themes culminating in rich tones in a final Prelude in C minor.

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