Amici Voices lift Christmas Oratorio to new heights
‘Although there will be many performances of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio over the new few weeks, I doubt that there will be many that can compare with Amici Voices presentation on Saturday.
Together with the Amici Baroque Players and directed by Terence Charlston, the eight young former Cambridge University choral scholars filled Harpenden High Street Methodist Church with music which Bach would most certainly have recognise as his own.
By using just eight voices to sing all parts of the work, the group brought a rare and exquisite quality tot eh performance which was only enhanced by the outstanding instrumentalists performing on period instruments.
Not only did the singers, sopranos Rachel Ambrose Evans and Bethany Partridge, mezzo Helen Charlston, alto Guy James, tenors Hitoshi Amako and Cameron Richardson-Eames together with basses Michael Craddock and Laurence Williams perform all the solo roles but they also made up the choir.
The result was a vibrant and thrilling sound which could not possibly be achieved by a large choir. The members of Amici Voices have precision, tonal quality and, above all, enthusiasm and joy which adds together to produce something quite outstanding. In some ways it is unfair to pick out individual singers as all were of the same outstanding quality, but Hiroshi Amako was particularly noteworthy as Evangelist and Bethany Partridge added, singing the echo and one of the chorales in the fourth oratorio.
And the musicianship of the members of Amici Baroque players left absolutely nothing to be desired. The distinctive sound of their baroque instruments, so different to their modern equivalent, added another level of authenticity to the performance. Firmly based in Harpenden, but with the beginnings of an international reputation, Amici Voices is a group to be watched in the future – and most definitely heard.’