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Bach, J S: Mass in B minor, BWV232

Yorkshire Bach Choir & Baroque Soloists/Peter Seymour
Bethany Seymour, soprano, Sally Bruce-Payne, soprano / alto, Jason Darnell, tenor, Joshua Ellicott, tenor, Peter Harvey, bass

Signum SIGCD265

This latest recording of J S Bach's Mass in B Minor is full of surprises.

From the very opening chorus, some strong decisions have been made about tempi and tempo relations which are likely to mean that listeners will fall in to two camps: those that love it for the freshness of approach and those that find that the sometimes unexpected speeds stand in the way of appreciation of the music.

The orchestral playing throughout is of the highest quality, with particularly impressive playing from the strings, and a remarkably sensitive brass section which, although powerful, never overwhelms.

Peter Seymour is to be particularly congratulated for the choir who make a very good sound, and are well able to cope with all the demands of Bach’s writing. Sadly the positioning of the microphones appears to give an over weighting to the altos, (even though they are a delight to hear).

Particular highlights are the solo singing of Peter Harvey and Sally Bruce Payne. Despite personal concerns regarding some unexpected and inconsistent tempi, the remarkable singing of Sally Bruce Payne in Agnus Dei alone makes this a valuable addition to the catalogue of recordings of this work.

Kate Semmens