The London Bach Singers
The London Bach Singers are a chamber choir of virtuosi, specifically founded to perform the great choral works of Bach with their sister group the Feinstein Ensemble. The singers specialise in single-voice performances of Bach’s Cantatas, Passions and Masses. Each member is an established soloist in their own right with a vast experience in the performance of Baroque music.
Small forces confer a blinding clarity on the score, entirely appropriate for a work that celebrates the coming of light into the world. The four singers, however, were exceptional, their voices finely blended in the choruses. Charles Daniels was the committed Evangelist, Faye Newton the bright-toned, effortless soprano. Bass Ben Davies sounded terrific in Grosser Herr, O starke König.
Full of excitement and raw energy: the crucifixus was quiet and menacing; the slow exposition of the counterpoint in the early section of et expecto felt as though each singer was daring the others to top the dissonances; the changes in tempo sparkled, and the trumpets accompanied the voices in soaring glory. This was the performance that moved the listener to tears, and this was the performance that gave life to Bach’s visionary genius.
MUSIC OMH (Mass in B minor, Bach Weekend 2016)
Faye Newton – soprano
Faye enjoys a diverse repertoire spanning some six centuries and embracing many aspects of the solo voice, from intimate lute-song recitals to baroque opera and oratorio. As a member of the New London Consort, she performed as a soloist at the BBC Proms and in Jonathan Miller’s productions of Monteverdi’s Orfeo, and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. In 2009 Faye made her solo debut at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, performing Handel and Bach with Ton Koopman’s Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra. Notable recordings include: Sacred Garland and Chamber Vespers with the Gonzaga Band (Chandos), and The Language of Love with Duo Trobairitz (Hyperion).
Mhairi Lawson – soprano
As a soloist Mhairi has sung in theatres and concert halls worldwide with such companies as English National Opera, The Gabrieli Consort, The Academy of Ancient Music and The Scottish Chamber Orchestra. She has made many commercial recordings including Haydn’s Creation with the Choir of New College, Oxford, Venice by Night with the Gramophone Award winning virtuoso baroque band La Serenissima, and Monteverdi Madrigals with Les Arts Florissants. Recent highlights were performances of Brahms’ Requiem in Dublin, Gorecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Bach’s St Matthew Passion with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Handel’s Solomon with the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon and the completion of two discs of Schubert’s Lieder.
Clare Wilkinson – mezzo soprano
Particularly passionate about Bach and Byrd, Clare Wilkinson makes music with groups of different shapes and sizes – lute, consort of viols, vocal consort, baroque orchestra – and loves them all. Many new works have been written for Clare, including a number by her father Stephen, some of which received premières at the Wigmore Hall. Clare has recorded very widely, and a number of her disks have won Gramophone awards. She runs her own group, Courtiers of Grace, creating lovingly-constructed programmes of songs and readings. She lives in the Flanders woods with her conductor husband.
Tim Travers-Brown – counter tenor
Tim studied at the Royal Academy of Music and has appeared as a soloist and consort singer throughout Europe, Japan and the USA. Artists he has worked with include The Monteverdi Choir, The Dunedin Consort, The English Concert, Laurence Cummings, The Gabrieli Consort under Paul McCreesh, The Sixteen, Nicholas Kraemer and Tenebrae. Opera engagements include Steffani’s Niobe (Cover) at the Royal Opera House and Orfeo for Peter Holman and The Parley of Instruments. His recordings include Bach Cantatas with Bach Collegium Japan and Masaaki Suzuki, and a solo disc of English song entitled The Frostbound Wood.
Charles Daniels – tenor
Charles Daniels sings a repertoire which extends from the ninth century to the present day. He studied at King’s College, Cambridge, and the Royal College of Music in London where he studied under Edward Brooks. He has made over 90 recordings as a soloist and more than 20 discs of Purcell’s music, mostly with The King’s Consort.
Nicholas Hurndall Smith – tenor
Nicholas studied music at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with David Pollard. Equally at home on the operatic and concert stages, he has sung roles by Handel, Mozart, Britten and Stravinsky and appears all over the world with a variety of conductors and ensembles, with Bach being a special favourite.
Ben Davies – bass
Ben studied at the Royal Academy of Music and has since performed all over the world as a soloist and as a consort singer. As well as being a member of the London Bach Singers, Ben sings regularly with The Sixteen and has toured, broadcast and recorded with them extensively, most recently as a soloist on their discs of Monteverdi’s Vespers, Purcell’s Indian Queen, two discs of Bach Masses and Handel’s Saul.
William Townend – bass
William was born in London. He was a member of the World Youth Choir and completed his postgraduate studies on the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama where he was winner of the English Song Prize. William has worked with several opera companies including Glyndebourne, Scottish Opera and English Touring Opera where roles have included Lescaut, Papageno and Escamillo. In concert he has appeared throughout Europe with performances in Budapest, Sweden, Germany and at Wigmore Hall. As a consort singer he has appeared across the globe, including the Sydney Opera House.