Come & Sing
for members
Events diary
Concert Reviews and Audience Comments



Pre 2011-12 Season

Leicester Mercury review of summer concert June 2011

"This concert of mainly 20th century French music began with Faure’s Cantique de Jean Racine. The choir interpreted the piece brilliantly, highlighting the elegant and subtle character of the music, enhanced in parts by the unique almost mesmerising quality of a young tenor in the choir.

Faure’s Romance followed, exquisitely played on the cello with the organ, rich, fulsome and delicate sounds providing a sublime experience. Cesar Franck’s Panis Angelicus was beautifully sung, accompanied sensitively by the cello and organ though there were moments when it was difficult to hear the former in the louder sections of singing. Two motets for a Time of Penitence by Poulenc described a range of emotions, partly as a result of personal tragedy. The aria Erbarme Dich from Bach’s St Matthew’s Passion was stunning. The cello, organ and violin with luscious, flowing harmonies was moving and intense.

Vierne’s Messe Solennelle is vibrant, thrilling and passionate in nature and both choir and organ achieved these effects.
It was a truly suberb and enriching evening."


Leicester Mercury review of St Matthew Passion, April 2011

"A truly excellent evening, all performers were utterly convincing in their individual roles and provided a moving experience ... It is hard to think of any other demanding work of such complexity that I have heard recently that has been performed so magnificently."


Review of 13.11.10 Leicester Mercury

After several concerts in the warm, resonant acoustic of St. James the Greater, the Bach Choir and conductor Richard Laing were back in the much “dryer” surroundings of the Cathedral. Listening to them once again in this less forgiving space, it’s clear they are not resting on their laurels. Balance, attack and dynamic control were impressive, as was Laing’s clear and authoritative direction.

We began with Holst’s exquisite setting of Psalm 86; its spare, haunting quality beautifully realised. Laing’s handling of the textures and dynamics showed his instinctive empathy with the idiom, as did his conducting of Debussy’s Danses Sacree et Profane, in which the shimmering, evanescent quality of the music was elegantly captured by soloist, Stephanie Beck and the accomplished string players.

Gerald Finzi’s magically evocative “Christmas Scene”, In Terra Pax, also showed Laing’s feeling for sensitive word setting. Warm-toned baritone, Angus Mc Phee was a good choice as the narrator and 16 year-old soprano Hollie Burton showed considerable promise as the Angel.

Another young soloist, counter-tenor Tim Morgan, featured in Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. His accurate pitch, fine diction and pure tone greatly enhanced Psalm 23. The choir, singing in Hebrew, managed the work’s spiky rhythms, big tunes and lush harmonies (West Side Story goes to Church) with considerable panache.

Angus McPhee excelled in Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs. His expressive phrasing of George Herbert’s immortal words and the choir’s inspired singing were a delight, despite the curious “hybrid” accompaniment of strings, organ - and piano.   



Review of 12.6.10 by Neil Crutchley, Leicester Mercury

The Leicester Bach Choir during Richard Laing’s time as Music Director, has become an exceptional ensemble with a distinctive musical personality and sense of purpose.

That’s not to say it’s perfect – thank goodness. Musical “perfection” is often sterile. With the LBC and its inspiring conductor there’s an exhilarating sense of excitement and spontaneity – of pushing to the limits .... it’s compelling music making, full of life and spirit.

The attractively varied programme of 20th century works began with an arresting account of Gerald Finzi’s uncharacteristically extrovert anthem God is gone up. Later we heard its exquisite companion pieces: My lovely one and Welcome sweet and sacred feast; both performed with expressive, affectionate phrasing and an instinctive sense of pace.

Gorecki’s sensual and hypnotic Totus Tuus, couldn’t have been a greater contrast to Britten’s masterly cantata Rejoice in the Lamb. There was an appealing sense of urgency and restlessness in this performance, which captured the varying moods of the text most effectively. Excellent young soloists and brilliant organ playing from Mark Batten added to the enjoyment.

A sensitive account of Ivor Gurney’s lovely song, Sleep, from bass Angus McPhee and pianist Mark Batten, was sandwiched between the gloriously rich harmonies of Cesar Cui’s radiant setting of the Magnificat and Samuel Barber’s equally lush Agnus Dei (Adagio). The concert ended with a virtuoso performance of Matyas Seiber’s highly entertaining Yugoslav Folk Songs.    


Uplifting account of masterpieces

John Dilleigh, Leicester Mercury 31.3.10

An evening of sumptuous choral music made up of two substantial masterpieces and two delightful smaller-scale works was presented by Leicester Bach Choir with Queens Park Sinfonia and soloists. The sparkling Magnificat is one of J S Bach's most engaging vocal works. The text is the canticle of Mary, mother of Jesus, as recounted by Luke.

The wonderful celebratory Mass in C Major by Mozart was originally composed for an Easter Day service but then given the nickname "Coronation" in the mistaken belief it was intended for the anniversary of the crowning of the Virgin Mary in Salzburg.

In both works the soloists were April Fredrick (soprano), Suzanna Purkis (mezzo soprano), Tim Ochala-Greenhough (tenor) and Gwion Thomas (baritone), all demonstrating style and sincerity. For the most part they displayed clear diction although at times the tenor was a little too light to be heard clearly.

Conductor Richard Laing achieved balance and articulation from the impressive choir and the young orchestra were outstanding.

Mendelssohn's exultant setting of Psalm 98 (Sing to the Lord a New Song) and Brahms's ravishing, rarely heard Nanie - a eulogy to his artist friend Anselm Feuerbach - fitted perfectly into a splendid and uplifting evening of music.


Psalmfest, though eclectic and easy on the ear, presents quite a challenge to performers with its ever-changing rhythms, differing styles and tricky tempo and key changes. Singers have to be alert and very well drilled to bring off these colourful psalm settings with confidence and panache. Clearly, the Bach Choir had worked hard and under the inspired direction of Richard Laing, produced an impressive performance, capturing the mood of each psalm with stylish, disciplined singing. The performance was enhanced by assured and imaginative accompaniment from organist Mark Batten.

Neil Crutchley, Leicester Mercury


"Soaring harmonies and excellent dynamics were the hallmarks of a wonderful concert of European sacred music by the Leicester Bach Choir.  . . . a joyous and reflective occasion.”
(June Concert, 2008)


“Many of us think of the Leicester Bach Choir as an old friend and it was good to be part of the capacity audience for its 80th birthday celebration.  [The performance] brimmed over with vitality.  Richard Laing …succeeded in capturing both the grandeur and humanity of the work, with good dynamic contrasts, lively rhythmic pointing and a strong sense of drama.”
(Bach’s B Minor Mass – April 2008)



Past Events

We are developing a resource of programmes and memorabilia from past concerts and events on this adjoining page.


© LBC 2016 Registered Charity No 501890