Academy of Ancient Music, Bach Fest at Bath Assembly Rooms

“THIRTEEN, unlucky for some” is the oft-heard bingo cry when the number 13 comes up, but I doubt that any of the sell-out audience for the last concert of this seasons Bach Fest felt that they were unlucky after spending the evening in the company of Bojan Cicic, director and violin, and the other members of the Acad­emy of Ancient Music.

They really were on top form in two Corelli Concerto Grosso,  in D major Op 6 Nos 7, and Handel, in G Major Op 6 No 1. The work of the cellist in these pieces, as indeed it was all evening, was particularly striking.

With works like Jeremiah Clarke’s Mr Shire’s Trumpet Tune, David Purcell’s Sound, sound the trumpet from The Masque of Hymen, to be performed alongside Torelli’s Trumpet Concerto in D Major, three pieces by Handel, including Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion from Messiah and the splendidly presented Cantata No 51: Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, which closed the concert on offer, the AAM needed a top class trumpet player and soprano. They found in David Blackadder and Rowan Pierce.

The words “breath control” may sound very dull and mundane, but to obtain the variation of tone that David Blackadder drew from his ancient trumpet and Rowan Pierce brought to her singing requires tremendous skill and feeling for the music. They not only achieved these aims but did so with such apparent ease that the difficult task seemed effortless. When they appeared in tandem they also gave a masterclass in complementary balance.

Since amalgamating with the Mozart Fest in 2012, the Bach Fest, which was founded 70 years ago by Cuthbert Bates, has, without any official backing, steadily established itself as a major part of the artistic life of the city of Bath, and judging from the sellout audiences at a five of this years concerts is set fair for another triumphal season next year.

That being said I am sure that chairman Sir David Bell and his fine team would welcome any further corporate or individual sponsors.


Posted in Reviews on .