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Hampstead's The Bach Players put on a special production of Stabat Mater for Easter, writes Rosy Moorhead
To celebrate Easter next month, the Bach Players are putting on a special production of Stabat Mater, the story of Mary standing at the cross.
The production is based on the Italian Baroque composer Alessandro Scarlatti’s setting of the piece, which itself is the direct predecessor of what is perhaps the best-known setting of the text, that of Giovanni Baptista Pergolesi.
Performed by the Bach Players’ special singers Rachel Elliott and Sally Bruce-Payne, the piece is punctuated by two of Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber’s Mystery Sonatas: The Agony in the Garden and The Crucifixion. These powerful programme pieces by the sixteenth century Bohemian-Austrian composer and violinist, which are songs without words, perfectly set the scene.
Soprano Rachel Elliott and alto Sally Bruce-Payne are joined by Nicolette Moonen and Anne Schumann on violin, cellist Olaf Reimer, Lynda Sayce on theorbo (a type of lute) and Pawel Siwczak on organ.
As the name suggests, the group is a collective of like-minded musicians who are drawn together by their love of the music of JS Bach, the apotheosis of Baroque. They play on original instruments, like the theorbo, and all vocal music is sung in its original language. Playing without a conductor, they perform mostly with single strings and single voices.
The group’s programme focuses on themes that connect music from different parts of Europe in the Baroque period, approximately 1600-1760.
The Bach Players are performing Stabat Mater: Music for Easter at St John’s Church, Downshire Hill, Hampstead on Saturday, March 3 at 8.15pm. Details: 020 8815 0197, www.thebachplayers.org.uk.