IT was less dramatic than the fainting soprano soloist in last December’s performance of Handel’s Messiah, but when a light bulb loudly exploded over the City Hall stage during the Credo of Bach’s B Minor Mass at the start of the second half of Sunday afternoon’s concert, some might have feared momentarily that Bearsden Choir’s 50th anniversary season was jinxed.

You certainly cannot fault the ambition of chorus director and conductor Andrew Nunn for his choir. The Bach is a big, bold undertaking for amateur singers, with some very tricky music to negotiate, and if the Cum Sancto that had ended the first half of the evening suffered from some wayward phrasing, it had gelled again by the closing Amen. The ensemble sound of Bearsden’s sopranos, often a weak link in large choirs of mixed ages, displayed an admirable consistency.

The choir was joined by a quintet of young soloists, with soprano Gemma Summerfield fitting this concert into her schedule between the Glasgow and Inverness runs of her role as Pamina in Scottish Opera’s current production of The Magic Flute. The standout contribution from the front of the stage came from one of those who had also sung Messiah, mezzo soprano Penelope Cousland, who brought the light touch that Bach requires, even to the rich lower notes of her range.

But the piece is all about the chorus, in this performance in particular, and it was a rare treat to hear it performed by such a large number of voices, the Kyrie at the start sufficiently powerful to render the McOpera Ensemble of musicians from the Orchestra of Scottish Opera momentarily inaudible. From them on, however, the players brought a huge variety of orchestral colour to the table, with solo turns from leader Katie Hull, Sue Baxendale on horn and Janet Larsson on flute. It was particularly the contribution of the reed players on oboes and bassoons that added variety and vivacity to the continuo of lower strings and Christopher Nickol’s keyboards.

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