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Bach Choir, The

This choir was established in 1875 by the lawyer and tenor, Arthur Coleridge, who was first presented with the music of Johann Sebastian Bach when he attended Cambridge University.  At the time he was a singer in an ensemble led by Otto Goldschmidt, who was married to the Swedish soprano known as “The Swedish Nightingale”, Jenny Lind.

Coleridge suggested a choir be formed to perform Bach’s Mass in B Minor and with Goldschmidt’s help he recruited 150 voices which gave two performances with great success.  From that time Goldschmidt became the musical director and they were named The Bach Choir to commemorate their first work.

Princess Christian, who was the third daughter of Queen Victoria, held a place in the choir along with many other members who were known in Victorian society and the Queen herself became their patron.

The music directorship was taken over by Charles Villiers Stanford in 1885 when he included orchestral works and concertos with performances by the world’s leading soloists.  The musical directors through the years have also included Hugh Allen, the previous choral members Ralph Vaughan Williams and Adrian Boult, Henry Walford Davies, Sir David Willcocks and the current holder of the position, David Hill.

They have made countless recordings, appeared on several television and radio programmes and internationally toured in over 80 different venues.  The choir currently has 220 members and their repertoire stretches from the 1600s to the present day, including work on the song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones and on the film scores of Shrek 3, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Kingdom of Heaven.

Angelus ad Virginem
London 417 898-2 (CD: O Come All Ye Faithful)
Members of the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
Organ – John Scott
Conductor – Sir David Willcocks

Once in Royal David’s City (Cecil Alexander/Henry John Gauntlett)
London 417 898-2 (CD: O Come All Ye Faithful)
The Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
Organ – John Scott
Conductor – Sir David Willcocks