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Birmingham Bach Choir at Birmingham Town Hall

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
Event:
Anniversary concert marks conductor's 25th year
Birmingham Bach Choir, Paul Spicer, Birmingham Town Hall, Classical Music, Bach's Mass In B Minor, Anniversary Concert

Internationally renowned conductor Paul Spicer celebrates 25 years of leading Birmingham Bach Choir with a special anniversary concert at Birmingham Town Hall on November 30, 2017.

Fittingly for a choir named in honour of Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach, Paul has chosen Bach's masterful Mass In B Minor for the performance.

"Bach's B minor Mass is quite simply one of the greatest creations of the human mind," says Paul. "It has been central to my musical career ever since Birmingham Bach Choir's previous musical director, Richard Butt, brought back a full score of the work from Leipzig as a gift for me back in 1988. Since then I have conducted the work many times, a lot of those with Birmingham Bach Choir. There is a whole world of experience and emotion in this Mass. As I have said before, I feel that Bach is the only universal composer."

Birmingham Bach Choir, Paul Spicer, Birmingham Town Hall, Classical Music, Bach's Mass In B Minor, Anniversary Concert
Anniversary: Paul Spicer, Birmingham Bach Choir conductor


Completed in 1749, a year before JS Bach's death, Mass In B minor (BWV 232) revisits previously composed passages and was only performed publically, in full, a century later. Today, it's regarded as one of the greatest musical compositions of all time.

Since becoming Birmingham Bach Choir's Musical Director in 1992, Paul has steered the choir through a myriad of successes, extending their repertoire to cover both contemporary and centuries-old lesser-known works, alongside more popular and easily recognised choral pieces.

As one of the UK's leading large chamber choirs, Birmingham Bach Choir has been contributing to the musical life of the West Midlands since 1919, making it one of the longest established musical groups in the area. Although the main focus is the Baroque period (especially JS Bach), the choir performs music spanning over 500 years, including 20th and 21st-century works.

During Paul's tenure, performing highlights include The Deciduous Cross, a work based on five poems by RS Thomas commissioned for Paul's 10th anniversary as conductor, the much acclaimed recording of Easter Oratorio and the world premiere of Unfinished Remembering, a major choral symphony commemorating the centenary of the first World War, performed at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, in 2014.

Birmingham Bach Choir, Paul Spicer, Birmingham Town Hall, Classical Music, Bach's Mass In B Minor, Anniversary Concert
Soprano: Sarah Fox (pic: Grahame Mellanby)


For the 25th anniversary concert, the Birmingham Bach Choir will be joined by the London Baroque Sinfonia, with Sarah Fox (soprano), James Laing (countertenor), Robert Murray (tenor) and Ashley Riches (bass).

Sarah has worked with many of the world's leading orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Halle. A former judge on BBC TV's The Choir: Sing While You Work, she also appears regularly with John Wilson and his Orchestra.

A former member of King's College Choir, Cambridge, Ashley is presently a member of the 2017/ 2108 BBC New Generation Artist scheme.

Birmingham Bach Choir, Paul Spicer, Birmingham Town Hall, Classical Music, Bach's Mass In B Minor, Anniversary Concert
Bass: Ashley Riches


James' operatic engagements include performances for the Royal Opera, English National Opera, English Touring Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera and Opera North.

Birmingham Bach Choir, Paul Spicer, Birmingham Town Hall, Classical Music, Bach's Mass In B Minor, Anniversary Concert
Venue: Birmingham Town Hall

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Why? Special concert to mark conductor Paul Spicer's 25 years leading the Birmingham Bach Choir.
When: November 30, 2017
Phone: 0121 780 3333
Where: Birmingham Town Hall
Cost: £25 (£23 conc), £18 (£16 conc) & £12.50; Students £5 (via Student Pulse scheme).
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