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Centenary

    Centenary Concert

    Centenary Concert Programme

    Centenary Concert Programme

     

    It is not clear when the choir was really founded. There is some evidence of 1882 but firmer evidence shows 1887. Therefore it was in 1987 that Birmingham Choral Union decided to hold a centenary concert in the Town Hall. The work chosen for this concert was Bach’s Mass in B Minor. This was conducted by Colin Baines and the orchestra for the occasion was the London Bach Orchestra. The five soloists were Angela Kazimierczuk (soprano), Diana Walkley (mezzo), Christopher Robson (counter-tenor), Joseph Cornwell (tenor) and James Ashworth (bass). The date of this august performance was Saturday 20 June 1987 and there was a good review by Barrie Grayson in the Birmingham Post – see the text below.

     

     

     


    Centenary Concert Photograph

    Photograph of our Centenary Concert in June 1987 in Birmingham Town Hall

    Photograph of our Centenary Concert in June 1987 in Birmingham Town Hall

     


    Civic Reception and Newspaper Cutting

    BCU_100th
    On the following Wednesday, 24 June 1987, there was a Civic Reception in the Council House for all members of the choir. Harold Gray, OBE, and his wife Jocelyn attended the Civic Reception with Edgar Richards (Chairman at that time) and Betty Richards. Harold was a previous long-standing conductor of Birmingham Choral Union.

    Photograph of Centenary Civic Reception from Birmingham Post 29 June 1987

    Photograph of Centenary Civic Reception from Birmingham Post 29 June 1987


    Centenary Concert Review

    Review of the Centenary Concert on Saturday 20 June 1987 – Written by Barrie Grayson in Birmingham Post on Monday 22 June, 1987.

    “The Birmingham Choral Union, founded 100 years ago,celebrated its centenary with a most impressive performance of Bach’s Mass in B Minor.
    There could have been no more sublime a work for such a memorable occasion, and Colin Baines, the BCU’s new conductor, approached the work with an interpretive accent on the music’s joyous inspiration.
    The B Minor Mass presents a tremendously difficult choral challenge, with elaborate chorus work often in five and six independent parts, and for the tremendous ‘Osanna’ (No. 21) an eight part double choir.
    The committed response to every demand Baines made gave the whole performance a spiritual up-lifting vitality.
    Everyone who has sung the piece is aware of the problems of sustaining tension in the changing atmosphere of a masterpiece of this colossal size, particularly when the eight-part ‘Sanctus’ with its great shouting triumph occurs after nearly two hours of concentrated and various styled chorus work.
    But the BCU showed its ability to call on reserves, and the performance of the ‘Sanctus’ and the ‘Osanna’ created the ultimate thrilling climax.
    The London Bach Orchestra accompanied with impeccable stylishness and without doubt its instrumental sensibility and feeling of rapport with the choir added an important artistic dimension.Of the five soloists, counter-tenor Christopher Robson and James Ashworth, bass, were outstanding.
    Joseph Cornwell, tenor and Diana Walkley, mezzo were adequate, but Angela Kazimierczuk, soprano, sang as for the scale of a chamber performance.
    However, in all this was a notable celebratory introduction the Birmingham Choral Union’s next century.”


Permanent link to this article: http://www.birminghamchoralunion.org.uk/history/centenary/