Today is Donald Trump’s inauguration, so a lovely evening of Bach suites and cantatas is the perfect way of avoiding it! The Dunedin Consort, under the skilled leadership of John Butt, is acknowledged to be one of the finest exponents of Bach in Britain, and its recordings have won many awards. This evening, it presents an all Bach programme, with two orchestral suites followed by two cantatas sung by a superb group of soloists: Emily Mitchell, Meg Bragle, Nicholas Mulroy and Jonathan Sells.
They begin with Orchestral Suite No. 1 BWV 1066, which is a delight of colourful sparkling dance music. This is followed by Cantata BWV 81, Jesus sleeps, what hope have I?, which uses the talents of all four singers, and here Mitchell shines, despite only singing in the final chorus.
After the interval, we hear Orchestral Suite No. 2 BWV 1067. This is not quite as lively as No. 1 but is still lovely music, and includes a beautiful flute solo from Katy Bircher. The concert concludes with Cantata BWV 111, Whatever my God wills, may that always happen. Again, this is superbly sung, and in particular, features a fine soprano solo from Mitchell. It also has a splendid final chorus to take us into the cold night with, filled with wonderful music.
We are very lucky to have the Dunedin Consort in Scotland, and although the Queen’s Hall may soon be replaced by a modern concert hall, it is perfect for this gem of a concert.