Choir of King's College London: Wachet auf!
I got attracted by this programme at St John’ Smith Square as soon as I saw it on the listing. The idea of traveling from early to late baroque using different settings of the same text Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme was really appealing to me.
And then I looked at the performers and though: “hey, the Choir of King’s College! They are good. I have many recordings featuring them”. Well, my mistake. It looks like in England there are many King’s College and many King’s College’s choirs. And it looks like the “good” one is the one from Cambridge.
Anyway they were not bad. There were some problems like some out of sync attacks here and there but nothing big. Soloist were so so. Another problem was the orchestra size (2 violins, 1 viola, 1 cello and 1 double-bass plus 2 oboes in the last cantatas) compared with the choir. This was relevant mostly in the Bach cantata. Soloists were not top level but I managed to relax myself about it :)
Nicolai and Praetorius choral pieces were a nice warm up before starting with the full cantatas. Weckmann and Buxtehude were really nice although the orchestra playing was too flat. Telemann’s was okeish.
The second part had the most known music: the famous JS Bach cantata BWV140. Again the problem was the balance between orchestra and choir in some parts, but it was quite enjoyable.
The best of the night was the JCF Bach cantata, with a very interesting choral writing whose textures were nicely exposed by the choir.
Concert was conducted by Joseph Fort which, as usually happens with these settings, was more focused on conducting the choir than the orchestra.