Barnes Music Festival

Bach Mass in B minor – Sunday 8th March

Sponsored by Friends of the English Chamber Singers

St Michael’s church was the setting for another splendid concert in the 2020 Barnes Music Festival programme: Musical Journeys.

After memorable performances in previous Barnes Music Festivals of Bach’s St John and St Matthew Passions, and in 2019 of the Magnificat, the English Chamber Singers and St Michael’s Choir with the Barnes Period Instrumentalists took on arguably the most demanding of all Bach’s choral masterpieces.  The Mass in B minor is not only one of Bach’s greatest works, but can also be perceived as an amazing musical and theological journey on the part of the composer.  From the unforgettable solemnity of the opening Kyrie to the final jubilant resolution of Dona nobis pacem, Bach’s genius is apparent throughout.  He takes us on an extraordinary voyage, which stretches the boundaries of even his creative powers.  In the Credo, the sublime, mysterious sequence in the closing bars of the Crucifixus still feels revolutionary over 250 years after it was written.  The Mass does indeed belong, to quote Karl Geiringer, to the “immortal documents of humanity’s quest for the eternal truths”.

Colette Boushell soprano
Elspeth Marrow mezzo-soprano
William Blake tenor
Laurence Williams bass

English Chamber Singers
St Michael’s Church Choir
Barnes Period Instrumentalists
Alison Bury leader
Martin Neary conductor


Organ Recital by Philip Berg – Tuesday 17th March

This event was sadly and reluctantly cancelled following government coronavirus advice.

Philip Berg MVO, is Master of the Music at The Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy, and until recently was Director of Music at St Paul’s Juniors, and Organist, St Paul’s School.

The programme called to mind Bach’s 200-mile walk to hear Buxtehude play the organ, and his ‘mental journey’ in incorporating Italian influences in one of his most impressive pieces for the instrument.  Debussy’s impressions of sailing, two of Reuchsel’s walks in Provence, Messiaen’s evocation of the nativity shepherds, the steady tread of a funeral cortège, and Parry’s mighty Toccata and Fugue – ‘The Wanderer’ were all due to be part of this impressive recital.

It is hoped to stage this event at a future date.