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Bach Cantata Club (Chamber Choir & Orchestra)

Founded: 1926 - London, England

The Bach Cantata Club was formed by Charles Kennedy Scott in 1926, with the aim of making known the church and secular cantatas of J.S. Bach and his instrumental works, performed with resources similar to those which J.S. Bach himself must have planned for when he was composing. In this project Charles Kennedy Scott was joined by Hubert J. Foss and E. Stanley Roper (organist of the Chapel Royal), and they received assistance from the J.S. Bach musicologist Dr Charles Sanford Terry (who contributed programme notes, and gave a lecture on J.S. Bach's Chorales and Chorale Preludes in 1927) and from Dr William Gillies Whittaker, director of the Newcastle Bach Choir (on which the London Club was partly modelled). The Vice-President was Dr Albert Schweitzer, who from time to time acted as organist at the Society's concerts. The choir of the Club consisted of twenty-five singers, mostly professional, while the instrumental work was an ensemble of London players called the Bach Chamber Orchestra. The choral concerts mostly took place at St. Margaret's, Westminster, and the orchestral performances at the Royal College of Music. A command performance of the unaccompanied motets was given before Their Majesties at Buckingham Palace in 1927, and the Motet 'Jesu Joy and Treasure' (BWV 227) was recorded for HMV in the same year.

On November 27, 1929, at the Annual Extra Meeting, a bicentennial performance of the St Matthew Passion (BWV 244), in English, using Dr Troutbeck's version and rejecting the Elgar-Atkin treatment, was given at Westminster with a 90-minute interval for dinner. The following resources were employed:
Bruce Flegg (Narrator); Keith Falkner (Jesus); Elsie Suddaby, Margaret Balfour, Archibald Winter, Arthur Cranmer.
Recitatives by Elsie Warner (Pilate's wife), Helen Tresillian, Ethel Robinson (Damsels), Mary Morris, Herbert Parsons (False witnesses), Wesley Dennison (High Priest), Arthur Cranmer (Peter), Walter Millard (Pilate), Leonard Rogers (Judas).
Obbligati by Joseph Slater (flute), Leon Goossens and James McDonagh (oboes), William Primrose (violin), Ivor James (cello).
Bach Cantata Choir: Two choirs, each with eight sopranos, four contraltos, three tenors and four basses (the numbers made up with the assistance of members of the Oriana and Philharmonic Choirs). Also The Boys of St Margaret's.
Bach Chamber Orchestra: Two orchestras, each with two first violins, two second violins, two violas, two cellos, one double bass, two flutes, and two oboes (alternating with oboi d'amore and cor anglais in the first orchestra). (Leader: William Primrose).
Organ (Herbert Dawson); Harpsichord (Frederic Jackson); Conductor (Charles Kennedy Scott).

For the grand event of 1930 the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) was given complete with Dorothy Silk, Margaret Balfour, Henry Wendon and Keith Falkner.

By this date the Club had held 22 meetings including three performances of the Mass in B Minor (BWV 232) (one in St Margaret's Church and one in Queen's Hall), twenty-five Church Cantatas, four Motets, three secular Cantatas, and various composite programmes and instrumental works. The subscription rate was 24 shillings (£1.4s.0d., i.e. £1.20p sterling) for a single seat to five concerts, £2.2s.0d. (two guineas) for a double ticket and £3 for a treble. Single Guest Tickets were 5s.9d. per concert.


Source: Wikipedia Website (December 2016)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (January 2017)

Charles Scott Kennedy: Short Biography | Bach Cantata Club | Recordings of Vocal Works

Links to other Sites

Charles Kennedy Scott (Wikipedia)


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