A Bach Christmas

Evening Post review - 22nd December 2008

The majestic setting of St Mary Redcliffe Church lent itself to this evening of Bach music presented by the Emerald Ensemble and the Exultate Singers.

Under the general title A Bach Christmas, this programme was cleverly constructed, with readings and music linking the Christmas story from its very beginning. The opening chorus from Magnificat laid the scene for the evening after the first reading, which conveys the conception of Jesus.

A superb rendition of Jesu Joy Of Man’s Desiring by the choir led into the next stage with the birth. The first chorus from the Christmas Oratorio proclaimed the joy of the crowd at this new arrival.

Roger Huckle and his son, Emil, played with great feeling the largo from the composer’s Double Violin Concerto before the next stage of the story, in which the well-balanced choir sang the chorales with great dignity and technical ability.

Roger Huckle and Imogen Triner (oboe) performed a beautiful adagio from the concerto before the final selection, The Visit Of The Wise Men, with readings from St Matthew’s Gospel.

In this last session, the singers gave a stunning performance of three choruses and then ending with the chorale The Triumph Is Completed.

The impressive reader was David Thomas. The Emerald Ensemble provided an efficient accompaniment and the whole concert was expertly conducted by David Ogden.

8/10

JOHN PACKWOOD