Bach’s compendium

Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus /Royal Northern Sinfonia, City Hall

Wednesday, 10th April 2019, 11:04 am
Updated Wednesday, 10th April 2019, 14:17 pm
Andrew Griffiths, conductor of Royal Northern Sinfonia

Bach put his Mass in B Minor together at the end of his life from pieces he had prepared earlier.

If it was a belated CV of his best work intended to impress Him upstairs, it would surely have earned him the job as God's in-house composer when his time came.

It is not simply a setting of the Latin mass but a compendium of musical styles and moods - often lively and even jolly - designed to show off the talents of its various performers, who here all responded splendidly.

The focus shifts from choir to soloists to orchestra to single instrumentalists, and all were in impressive form.

The heavy lifting is done by the choir, and our own Philharmonic Chorus was meticulously prepared by Music Director Darius Battiwalla. They responded sharply and sensitively on the night to the admirably clear and precise guidance of conductor Andrew Griffiths whose chamber group with more than its share of youthful talent, offered unobtrusive support and balance. Their soloists stepped out from the ensemble when required with confidence and flair, while the vocal soloists provided the punctuation to the narrative rather than the main thrust.

Most familiar to Yorkshire audiences was soprano Flur Wynn, who regularly appears with Opera North. ably abetted by mezzo soprano Madeleine Shaw, tenor Nick Pritchard and bass-baritone Edward Grint.

Philip Andrews