Winter Concert - Sunday, 24th November 2019
Jesu, meine Freude, JS Bach
Mass for Double Choir, Frank Martin
Review by Sasha Alexander
Kevin Duggan, Director of Rosenethe Singers, shows a touch of pioneering spirit in his choice of programmes for the choir. The concert in Dunblane Cathedral on 24th November 2019, was no exception.
Kevin Duggan led us into the two major works with a selection of madrigals, plus flute and recorder solos which were beautifully played by Ines Zimmerman. Later, Ines joined forces with Kevin for a polished performance of Frank Martin’s Church Sonata for flute and organ.
JS Bach (1685-1750)
Jesu, meine Freude
Bach’s great Motet, Jesu, meine Freude covers a wide range of emotions from complete trust in Jesus as a loving saviour and protector, contrasting with dramatic outbursts of defiance against Satan and all worldly treasures.
The choir blended well in the chorales, and managed good clear running passages. There was strong confident singing from the gentlemen of the choir, but all sections would benefit from stronger use of consonants and even stronger vowel sounds which support and carry the voice through sustained descending passages where it is easy to lose pitch.
The work was sung with conviction and the final chorale was well balanced and moving.
Frank Martin (1890-1974)
Mass for Double Choir
The other major work in the programme was the Mass for Double Choir by the 20th century Swiss composer, Frank Martin. This is a most beautiful and complex setting of the Mass, rarely performed as it makes huge demands of the choir with ever-changing time values in both choirs and a wide dynamic range.
The choir met the challenges with confidence, from the haunting opening notes of the Kyrie, through the Credo with its lovely ‘et sepultus est’, the dance-like 'Et resurrexit' and into the Sanctus which starts peacefully and builds to a glorious ‘Hosanna’. The tone was scaled down for a secure Agnus Dei with its fluid movement between the choirs, leading to the final, peaceful ‘Dona Nobis Pacem’.
This was an outstanding performance, thanks to the dedication and hard work of all those taking part, and the choir’s fresh sound should be well-suited to the performance of Purcell’s King Arthur on Sunday, 29th March 2020.