California Bach Society – Handel Anthems

California Bach Society pineapple logoI’ve been meaning to check out one of the California Bach Society‘s concerts ever since hearing about the great work that Paul Flight was doing with the group. Attending last summer’s Bach Cantata workshop redoubled that desire.

Scheduling conflicts got in the way until now, but tonight we heard a delightful program of Handel Anthems. The 30-voice chorus sang with beautiful tone, expressivity, and nuance. The program was guest conducted by Charlene Archibecque while Paul Flight is on a brief sabbatical. Old friends Brian Thorsett and Elspeth Franks were the soloists, and the chorus was accompanied by a small orchestra.

When I walked into All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Palo Alto, I was worried that the sound may be too reverberant for the music, as is often the case in other churches in the area. Instead, it provided a nicely supportive environment, and is a great sonic match for the group’s size.

This was the last program of the current season. Next season has some fine programs, including the Bach Mass in B Minor and Schütz’s Symphoniae Sacrae. The programs are performed three times each: Friday in San Francisco, Saturday in Palo Alto, and Sunday in Berkeley.

If, like me, you don’t get to sing enough (or any) Bach in your regular chorus gigs, I highly recommend their Summer Choral Workshop. This year’s will be held on Saturday, August 25 and will include choruses from Cantatas 39, 110, 125, 131, and 150. I plan to be there again this year. See you there?

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