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Members  © 2011 Somerset Chamber Choir  Registered Charity No.1003687  

Patrons: Dame Emma Kirkby and Sir David Willcocks

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CPE Bach

JS Bach

Mass in C minor


Nun danket alle Gott BWV 192


Somerset Chamber Choir

Southern Sinfonia

Mary Bevan

Ruth Jenkins

Katie Bray

Nicholas Mulroy

Benjamin Bevan

Graham Caldbeck









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Three choral works covering a period of some 60 years in the eighteenth century were performed by the Somerset Chamber Choir, young soloists, the Southern Sinfonia and conducted by Graham Caldbeck at Wells Cathedral last Saturday, 28th July. The choice of J.S. Bach’s joyous cantata ‘Nun danket alle Gott’, C.P.E. Bach’s ‘Magnificat’ and Mozart’s ‘Mass in C minor’ gave a fascinating insight into music reflecting the changing musical styles of the period.


The Bach cantata proved to be a superb opener for everyone, performers and the capacity audience. The festive spirit of the text was taken up by a responsive choir and orchestra with the duet aria sung by Mary Bevan [soprano] and Benjamin Bevan [baritone] providing a singing partnership of simple grace and mutual understanding.


The Magnificat is a work of exuberance and passion. For the soloists there is great opportunity to engage in a range of expressive moments. Benjamin Bevan took his opportunity and relished the dramatic ‘Fecit potentiam’, while Nicholas Mulroy [tenor] made light of the technical demands posed by ‘Qui fecit’. Katie Bray [mezzo soprano] was much at ease in ‘Suscepit Israel’. The choir took on the demanding sing of ‘Sicut erat’ and triumphed, aided by a well-balanced relationship with the Southern Sinfonia whose strings played superbly throughout.


Although the Mozart Mass is liturgically incomplete, there was little feeling of truncation. Graham Caldbeck managed the structural challenges of this work with authoritative direction and suitable tempos. The soloists were a joy, with Ruth Jenkins very much at home with the coloratura passages and the heavenly ‘Et incarnatus’ aria so suited to the lyrical nature of Mary Bevan’s voice. The choir has lately acquired an improved tonal and technical balance between the parts. Some impressive competence was already evident from the cantata and the Magnificat, the Kyrie and opening movement of the Gloria further reinforced this.


Graham Caldbeck has succeeded in developing the Somerset Chamber Choir concerts over recent years with masterly programming and great direction. The choir and its organisation have rightly developed a deserved following and reputation.


Andrew Maddocks



Published in the Mid Somerset series newspapers

Saturday 28 July 2012

Wells Cathedral

Mozart Mass in C minor, CPE & JS Bach


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