What a gift to the people of Melbourne – a free performance on Sunday 21st April by The Scots’ Church Choir and the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra of one of the masterpieces of the Baroque era – J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor – and superbly performed too. Composed over a long time and assembled at the end of Bach’s life, this work is a summation of his musical vision and Douglas Lawrence’s interpretation was suitably measured, then energetic and then majestic – indeed a treat.
Soprano Amelia Jones was pure enchantment in the aria Laudamus te and when teamed with tenor Timothy Reynolds and flautist Greg Dikmans in Domine Deus, the magic was all encompassing and I wanted the music to never, ever end. Other excellent and musical solos came from alto Elizabeth Anderson, so sensitive in the Agnus Dei, and bass Oliver Mann, particularly stunning in the group Et in spiritum to Confiteor.
It is in the chorus movements that Bach shows us his sublime genius. The sanctity and mesmerising opening Kyrie, the glory of the Cum Sancto and the exhilaration of the Et resurrexit wash over the audience in waves of alternating emotions from sadness to extreme happiness. In the Credo and Patrem omnipotentem, the brilliance of the choir was matched by stunning orchestral playing and a superb trumpet section led by Louisa Trewartha who starred all night. The magnificent concluding movement Dona nobis pacem again allowed the fabulous trumpets an opportunity to excel and thrill.
Directed by Douglas Lawrence, the Scots’ Church Choir performed beyond the expectations of a city church choir – this is a serious musical group and with the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra gave the good burghers of Melbourne an Easter treat better than all the chocolate imaginable.
Scots’ Church Choir & Melbourne Chamber Orchestra | Melbourne | Sun 21 April, 2019