Crouch End Chorus dig out Bach’s B Minor Mass at the Barbican

Crouch End Festival Chorus performs St Nicolas concert 2015. Picture: Paul Robinson

Crouch End Festival Chorus performs St Nicolas concert 2015. Picture: Paul Robinson - Credit: Archant

Always up for a challenge, the Crouch End Festival Chorus will be boldly going where it hasn’t before when it sings, this Saturday, the mighty Bach B Minor Mass with period instruments.

Having been around for more than thirty years, CEFC has done B Minor Masses in the past; but never period-style and at a baroque pitch – which is almost always lower than modern usage.

Large choral societies tend not to explore historic practice, ruling themselves out on the grounds that they come with far too many voices to make a meaningful attempt at what the period gurus used to call ’authentic’. But the Bach B Minor is a mystery piece, never performed complete in Bach’s own time. So there’s no template for how many voices it should have. And the little we know about Bach’s intentions suggests that he imagined grander forces than were usually available to him.

With baroque instrumentalists from the Bach Camerata and some distinguished soloists – notably Mary Bevan and Ben Johnson – booked to accompany this sonic journey to the past.

At the Barbican, Sat 23rd,7.30pm David Temple conducts. Details: barbican.org.uk

Hear Schubert in the suburb with Lewis

If you asked me who were the pre-eminent, native British pianists of today, I’d start with Stephen Hough, Stephen Osborne, and Paul Lewis. And in Schubert, Lewis has the edge – which is why his coming concert in the Garden Suburb is worth taking note of because the programme includes Schubert’s B Major Sonata D585 (designated the 9th or the 11th, depending on the numbering system you use). A musician of complete integrity, never flamboyant, always thoughtful and intelligent, Lewis’s performances are never less than special. And with much-loved Brahms Ballades and Intermezzi also on the bill, this one is a hot ticket.

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Part of the Mill Hill Music Club season it’s at Henrietta Barnett School, on Sun 31st, 7.30pm. Details: millhillmusicclub.co.uk

Forge a path to Camden for this ensemble

Among the upfront highlights of the 2016 season at the Forge in Delancey Street, Camden Town is a concert by Ensemble Reza.

This is a group of six string-players including the Hampstead-born violinist Lucy Jeal who’s been a prominent figure on the recital circuit ever since she won - at the age of 17 - the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Young Soloist of the Year competition.

Others in the group have less conventional careers.

There’s a violist who players regularly with Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra.

But it will all be strictly classical on this occasion in a programme of great sextets by Tchaikovsky, Borodin and Dvorak

It starts at 7.30pm, Tuesday 2nd Feb. 3-7 Delancey Street NW1. Details: forgevenue.org

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