Passionate choir Bach again

Australian Chamber Choir, Melbourne Baroque Orchestra: Bach's St John Passion

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SOLOISTS: See tenor Timothy Reynolds and soprano Elspeth Bawden when the Australian Chamber Choir perform's JS Bach's St John's Passion.

SOLOISTS: See tenor Timothy Reynolds and soprano Elspeth Bawden when the Australian Chamber Choir perform's JS Bach's St John's Passion.

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Rare instruments on show in Bach choral masterpiece

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The Australian Chamber Choir kicks off its 2019 season by teaming up with the Melbourne Baroque Orchestra to perform The St John Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach in Victoria.

Considered on the great musical masterpieces, the St John Passion was the first major work composed by Bach as cantor at the Church of St Thomas' in Leipzig. 

"Written for his first Easter there, it's designed to impress," said choir founding director Douglas Lawrence.

"It's short, texturally fascinating, highly dramatic and I think that Bach's excitement at this important stage in his life is palpable."

He said many of the instruments chosen for this work were rarely heard, even in Bach’s time.

The composer supplemented the usual orchestra with rare instruments including two different types of oboes - the oboe d’amore and oboe da caccia - and a viola da gamba, a cello-like stringed instrument played between the legs.

"When such a work is performed using modern instruments, much of its unique character is lost," Lawrence said.

"We are fortunate to have fantastic specialist instrumentalists to inspire us with an exciting and authentic sound."

The choir regularly tours, with programs including music from the Renaissance to the present day. 

At St Andrew's in Hamilton, April 7; Church of the Resurrection in Macedon, April 13; The Scots' Church, Melbourne, April 28; and St Paul's in Clunes, May 5. 

Tickets: www.auschoir.org/senior or phone 0452-531-750. 

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