High Standards in Bach Mass from Ludus Baroque


  Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 (2) – Bach,  B Minor Mass: Ludus Baroque, Richard Neville-Towle, (conductor), Canongate Kirk, 07.08.2014 (SRT)

Ludus Baroque comes together only a few times a year.  They always do the B minor Mass at the Fringe and, normally, the Christmas Oratorio in December.  They normally precede the B minor mass with a piece of Handel (which has led to some very successful recordings in the past): there was none of that this year, though one chorus member did mention to me that last night they did Handel’s Athalia in Perth, which is no bad thing as Edinburgh isn’t exactly short of things to do in August.

Most of the players and many of the singers are professional musicians so, for a glorified scratch band, the musical standards are extremely high, with pungent winds, sinuous strings and shiny brass, though the timpanist tended to be a little too enthusiastic!  The chorus, too, made a wonderful sound, particularly the tenors who sounded crisp and exciting, and the whole choir was satisfyingly secure on top.

The young quartet of soloists was also very strong, especially soprano Anna Dennis and counter tenor Andrew Radley, whose voices blended beautifully in the Christe and Et in ununm Dominum.  Ed Lyon made a bright tenor, though I’ve never warmed to William Berger’s baritone which, to me, lacks a core, particularly at the bottom.

Music Director Richard Neville-Towle kept the whole thing flowing at an admirable pace, but this didn’t hold up the progress of the stately flow in, say, the Kyrie, and there was a pleasing sense of one-in-a-bar at the big moments, such as Et resurrexit and Et expecto.

 The whole thing sounded magnificent in the airy space of Canongate Kirk, the Queen’s parish church in Edinburgh, specially tailored to the acoustic which is spacious yet intimate.  In short, the concert was a triumph: an excellent evening of music making, and the International Festival hasn’t even begun yet!

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe continues until 25th August at a range of venues across the city.  For full details click here.

Simon Thompson

Print Friendly


Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews


Season Previews

  • NEW! Saffron Opera Completes its Ring with Götterdämmerung __________________________________
  • NEW! Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov’s Return to London in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! St John’s Smith Square announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Bayreuther Festspiele 2017 – Operas, Symposium, Concerts, Cinema and More __________________________________
  • NEW! Summer Music in Cincinnati 2017 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Pierre Boulez Saal’s 2017/18 Season in Berlin __________________________________
  • NEW! The National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company – 2017 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Birmingham and Beyond: Ex Cathedra in 2017/18 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Glyndebourne Opera Cup and Glyndebourne in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Opera’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Culture and the Coast: Garsington’s Opera for All and Forthcoming Opera Screenings __________________________________
  • NEW! 2017 BBC Proms from Friday 14 July – Saturday 9 September __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House Announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

  • NEW! The Royal Opera House in Mumbai is Restored to its Former Glory __________________________________
  • NEW! Grenfell Tower Benefit Concert on 17 September at Cadogan Hall __________________________________
  • NEW! iSING! – International Young Artists Festival in Suzhou, China __________________________________
  • NEW! A Riveting Kokoschka’s Doll from Sir John Tomlinson and Counterpoise __________________________________
  • NEW! The National Theatre Dares You to Engage with This Show __________________________________
  • NEW! HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • NEW! CATRIONA MORISON WINS BBC CARDIFF SINGER OF THE WORLD 2017 __________________________________
  • NEW! Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich Announces New Chief Conductor __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month

    Search S&H