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In an essay entitled ‘Bach and the Dance of God’ the late Wilfrid Mellers wrote of the Mass in B minor, ‘Truly this is one of the manifestations of man’s essentially religious spirit…’ It’s not a work you just listen, to it’s an experience. It is not easy for performers to pull this off, and Jonathan Cohen’s Arcangelo doesn’t quite get there. Both singers and instrumentalists are good but something is lacking, making for an uneven performance which veers from the perceptive to the downright pedestrian. The choir comprises many excellent individualists, which doesn’t always make for perfection. Of particular note is the performance of ‘Confiteor unum baptisma’, the tenor soloist Samuel Boden refreshingly not sounding like every tenor who has preceded him, and the rich counter-tenor of Tim Mead, whose performance of the Agnus Dei is unforgettable.

SHIRLEY RATCLIFFE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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