Ludus Baroque are a gem in the Edinburgh classical music scene. Founded in 1997 to play authentic early music, their early Handel recordings have gained much acclaim. Their annual performance of the Bach B Minor Mass has become a fixture on the Fringe. Performed in the splendid settings of the Canongate Kirk, they produce a performance that would not have been out of place in the main Festival programme.
The singers, assembled by director Richard Neville-Towle, would grace any of our leading opera houses and include sopranos Anna Dennis, Susanna Hurrell, Alexandra Kidgell and Bethany Partridge; mezzo-sopranos Katie Bray and Catherine Hopper; tenors Ed Lyon and Andrew Staples; and baritones Alex Ashworth and Sam Evans. They all perform superbly, both as soloists and as part of an ensemble.
The orchestra play baroque string instruments with gut strings, and early woodwind and brass instruments, allowing them to produce an authentic period sound. They are superb in their backing of the singers and in their solo sections, and are well led by conductor Richard Neville-Towle.
The Bach B Minor Mass is one of the great choral works of the baroque period, and in this lovely setting of the ancient Canongate Kirk, beautifully lit for the evening, the music transports us into Festival mood.