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Weekend Notes

Playing to a packed house … the sublime voices of the ACC were … spine tingling, brilliant”

Australian Chamber Choir presents Bach’s St John

by Tricia Ziemer
Television Producer & Photojournalist with a passion for sharing adventures in and around Melbourne, Australia. See my for other adventures. Subscribe to me so I can tell you of upcoming fab things not to miss.
Event: 05/05/2019

Choir and orchestra blend as one
Take an acoustically superior atmosphere, Scot’s Church, then add the sublime voices of the Australian Chamber Choir, plus the Melbourne Baroque Orchestra and you get a spine-tingling brilliant concert. It is almost seamless, where the voices end and the orchestra begins. Douglas Lawrence, OAM and founder of the Australian Chamber Choir, has fashioned and directs this superb concert that celebrates all things Bach and leaves you with tears of joy. 

The Orchestra, with Concert Master Shane Lestideau uses some instruments you may never have heard before in your life, including the viola da gamba and oboes da caccia. They soar to the roof with the solo arias. These add a resonance you have never experienced before and add so much more depth to Bach’s Passion. Bach wrote this piece in 1724, his first year at St Thomas’ Church Leipzig. And it is still timeless to this day, but this rendition is a priceless, once in a lifetime experience.

Playing to a packed house at Scot’s Church, the applause at the end of the 2 hours went on and on, many of the audience standing to clap.

 This concert featured some of our great Australian soloists, including Evangelist and tenor soloist Timothy Reynolds, Jerzy Kozlowski as a booming deep voiced Jesus, Oliver Mann as Pilatus and bass soloist, Ameila Jones as Ancilla, Tanum Shipp as Servus and alto soloist Elizabeth Anderson. But for me, the voice that was hauntingly beautiful was Elspeth Bawden. It is a voice I will remember forever. The icing on the cake of this celebration of Easter and Bach.

What I also thoroughly enjoyed was having a program guide with both the German and English Translation to follow along with. My husband is German, and I am beginning to have an ear for it, after listening to family for 30 years. So it was a real treat for me to be able to follow along with the German. 

It has finished in Melbourne, but you have one more chance to hear this wonderful at Clunes, outside of Ballarat. It is worth a road trip to visit a wonderfully historic town that was the middle of the Gold Rush.

It has had rave reviews around Australia including;
“This is a choir that Australia can be proud of” – Stage Whispers 25 April 2018.
“Impeccable pitch and articulation of the text are a feature of the ACC’s performances, and throughout the tempered contrasts of dynamics in response to the text was scholarly and splendid” Classic Melbourne, 12 April 2018