Honestly, what is it about late night BACH?!! You may be getting a little bit bored of 4*’s, so do not worry because Prom 42 did more than deliver a faultless performance!
You may want to get ready because this isn’t really going to be a review, it’s more of a love letter to the Sixteen, then JS Bach, and then to Arvo Part. I don’t know what it is about choral music, but when it’s performed well it’s unbeatable. And if anyone was going to do it, it had to be the sensational talent that is the 16. Bringing together 34 (yeah i know..) singers on the RAH stage, this unmissable experience to hear the best choir sing the best choral music was one of my favourite proms experiences. I will now explain why:
The Programme worked perfectly, splitting up the Bach motets with Arvo Part; although I could have easily listened to all 6 motets in a row it actually complemented the Bach strangely well. Just as Celemency Burton-Hill lightheartedly described as a sorbet in between the meals, it worked perfectly. And if you wanted to know what the meals were, they were massive Bachian roast dinners.
Both Part pieces were absolutely beautiful, but my favourite was the Nunc Dimittis, my favourite genre of choral music, which oozed clashes and without a doubt it helped that the 16 brought it to life and beyond.
The singers were also perfect, but the altos for me won the battle hands down closely followed by the exquisite sopranos who were the stars of the pure sound the group very easily created. The choir as a whole are just at the top of their game-lead fantastically by Harry Christophers their sound surpasses all other choirs, and I even prefer their sopranos to boy trebles.. yes, there I said it.
As well as this, in the Jesu, Meine Freude (ultimate banger) three soloists from the choir stepped forward which broke up the full choir parts really well. The basses as a whole were just ridiculously good, but this soloist was the model bass getting out the way when he wasn’t needed and then more than showing off in his tune-brilliant!
As well as the choir, some incredible cellists, a very technically secure double bassist and a passionate chamber organ player accompanied the Bach adding another dimension of not only sound but flare for the music itself.
Overall, I think the best way to notice a 5* performance is if the conductor can hold the silence after the performance, which I have never seen better done than it was by Harry Christophers. The entire hall were in silence in complete adoration for the finesse they had just experienced. Sensational.
This one’s worth a listen all the way through: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07nmszy