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Bach Cantatas 61, 62 & 36

Iain Ledingham director Rachel Podger leader

Duke’s Hall Royal Academy of Music, 4 November 2012

A satisfying spiritual start to the day... The performance was a model of vitality, concentration and period authenticity – Sunday Times

Bach Cantatas – Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland I, BWV 61 (Come now, Saviour of the gentiles I); Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland II, BWV 62 (Come now, Saviour of the gentiles II); Schwingt freudig euch empor, BWV 36 (Soar joyfully aloft)

RAM's hugely ambitious Sunday mornings project to perform all Bach's cantatas with period instruments and in the original German is well under way. Musical Pointers sampled Cantatas 61/62 (two versions of Nun Komm, der Heiden Heiland) and No 36 Schwingt freudig.

The largest of RAM's auditoriums, Duke's Hall, was packed and we were lucky to get last-minute seats at the back, under the balcony, where we had found the acoustic excellent in Schubert's loudest piano music.

The mood of these cantatas was celebratory and uplifting, all the performances thoroughly prepared by Iaian Ledingham, who kept it all moving and carefully balanced. The soloists were all fine, with a soprano aria with muted violin obliggato (Rachel Podger) a highlight. The two accomplished baroque oboists also deserve mention.

The standard was fully equal to professional productions, such as John Eliot Gardiner's Bach Cantata Pilgrimage 2000.

A video of a chosen few of the Cantatas would be a valuable memento and, amongst their own label recordings, a feather in RAM's cap.

Peter Grahame Woolf

My day continued with three string quartets at Chamber Studio, King's Hall PGW