This concert of some of Bach’s most joyful music was struck through unexpectedly with sorrow. Marianne Stork, for many years a soloist and member of the choir’s soprano section, suddenly and very sadly passed away after a brief illness that occurred during the four week rehearsal run. Marianne will be much missed.
The evening’s music, dedicated to her memory, was accounted a great success, with many enthusiastic comments from a capacity audience. The very demanding motet Singet dem Herrn (for divided choir) ran with appropriate lightness and great rhythmic integrity. The central section was sung beautifully as a solo quartet with accompanying chorale. The final movement in triple time danced to its ringing conclusion.
As at last year’s orchestral autumn concert, the purely instrumental item on the programme was conducted from the keyboard by Jozef Janik, Cantorum’s Assistant Music Director. The Bach Concerto #1 for Harpsichord (played here on the piano) was a truly stunning performance by Jozef—accompanied by excellent string playing from our usual orchestra—and very well received.
Finally, the popular Bach Magnificat (with demanding solos taken ably by members of the choir) provided a vibrant second half to the concert. The choir sang again with dancelike lightness and accuracy, bringing home the full exuberance of the composer’s writing. Special mention must be made here of Marianne’s husband, daughter and son, all accomplished singers. They insisted that Marianne, with her theatrical background, would have wanted most of all that ‘the show should go on’, and they themselves took part in this concert with great professionalism in the midst of grief. The printed programme shows the tenor aria Deposuit potentes omitted. In fact, on the night, Malcolm Stork very courageously stepped forward to sing it—and sang it extremely well. And so the Magnificat was presented complete in all its sections.