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June 20, 2016 / basabbott

St John Passion at St John’s

Review

St. John Passion
Harleston Choral Society

Bach’s work of small-bite recitatives needs an adroit juxtaposition of conductor, choir, soloists and orchestra.
Under Christopher Bracewell’s direction you knew this would succeed as the opening chorus met the surge of the orchestra.
Waves of ecstatic sound, whether measured, lively, meditative, declamatory, contrite or hymn-like filled St. John’s Church.
Tenor Michael Hart-Davies’ crystal clarity of delivery proved ideal for telling the crucifixion story and for the more expressive Airs.
Sri Lankan born, and now British citizen, Dhilan Gnanadurai, again brought his darkly passionate bass voice to the dramas of Calvary.
Contralto Catherine Dealey’s singing had a loving quality, if a little underpowered; and there were some soaring-rafter moments from Soprano Siona Stockel.
Mature and mellow, the orchestra, led by Miles Golding, was a bedrock of excellence. Special mentions for the oboe, cor anglais and bassoon playing of Emma Penfold, Kim Haan and Mark Sharp.

Basil Abbott

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