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J S Bach Mass in B Minor

We were all thrilled with this concert. Taking into account the vast scale of the work itself, the five professional soloists and the orchestra of twenty professional players, it was perhaps the largest event the choir has ever put on, certainly in recent years.

Bach’s Mass in B Minor is performed relatively infrequently, owing not only to the outlay in resources required, but also to the demands on the choir: there are nineteen distinct choral items, all in some way virtuosic and all to a degree extended. In fact, the strongly choral nature of the piece makes the deployment of separate soloists not so much a luxury as something of a performance necessity. It was a curious coincidence, then, that on March 19th two other Thames Valley groups from within a twenty-five mile radius were also offering the B Minor Mass. And, to compound the pressure, we were further competing for an audience with England’s grand slam bid in the Six Nations Rugby tournament!

As it turned out, we needn’t have worried. The very large All Saints Church, Marlow, our venue for major orchestrally-backed concerts, completely sold out on the night. And the performance was by general agreement a stunning success, of which we feel justifiably proud. For all its technical demands, the work is wonderfully expressive and liberating, and every moment was an absolute joy to sing.

Now we find ourselves on the one hand bereft in having to leave this glorious masterpiece behind us – and on the other elated as we look forward to our next challenges: our upcoming Choir of the Year entry and our Summer Concert on 25th June.