Great to see Bach back again. Our local Canberra Bach Ensemble had a fairly short concert to reemerge after Covid and to start preparing for BachFest in Leipzig, now in 2024. CBE is the first Australian group to be invited to BachFest. We luxuriated in these great sounds, these fabulous baroque fugues and songs and instrumentals at that reduced pitch. The orchestra was a bit smaller than previous outings, with 2 x violin, 2 x viola, 1 x cello, organ, 1 x flute and 2 x recorders although much was reduced to single seats and even just organ and cello for some pieces. Bianca did a great job, but perhaps Clara was the defining instrument for the night, as the bass end (here cello) tends to be. And she played for every piece, along with Anthony. The choir could be blissful, especially in the Schutz with just organ and cello accompaniment, with the vocals were so, so clear and insistent. The sopranos rang and soared and I was on the side of the stage with the tenors and basses and I heard them so clearly in their interplay. The night started with a larger choral work with orchestral accompaniment, then through a series of arias variously for soprano, alto and/or bass, then a final three works by Bach antecedents, Heinrich Schutz and Andreas Hammerschmidt. Then a drinks and nibbles in the local hall. This was a fund-raiser and well attended and the musicians played for nix so not a full bore concert of cantatas. Looking forward to the bigger outings in due course. Bring it on!
Andrew Koll (conductor) directed the Canberra Bach Ensemble at St Christopher's in Manuka. Instrumentalists were Bianca Porcheddu and Lauren Davis (violins), Lucy Carrigy-Ryan, John Ma and Elizabeth Chalker (violas), Clara Teniswood (cello), Anthony Smith (organ), Jennifer Bryan (flauto traverso), Robyn Mellor and Olivia Gossip (recorders). Vocal soloists were Greta Claringbould (soprano), Maarte Seventer (alto) and Andrew Fysh (bass). The choir was 24 (including Greta, Marrte and Andrew) comprising 6 for each SATB part.