Review: Solomon’s Knot, Ryedale Festival, St Lawrence Church, York, July 27

THE vocal ensemble, with an excellent Pawel Siwczak playing the organ, delivered the most sublime of concerts, dovetailing the music of Johann Sebastian Bach with his cousin (once removed), Johann Christoph Bach.

Not only was this an intelligent, innovative programme, but it was a seriously demanding one too. The ensemble sang impeccably for nearly one and a half hours, sounding as fresh at the conclusion as they did in the opening Fürchte Dich Nicht.

This work by JC Bach sounded dramatic and quite original and this was exploited beautifully in the performance. The balance of the male quartet with the female commentary from the back of the church, adding a delicious musical otherness, was a delight.

Then it was JS Bach’s setting of Fürchte Dich Nicht. It was, of course, wonderful, as was the performance. The antiphonal dialogue and part singing was a joy. This was followed by JS Bach’s Komm, Jesu, komm. Here the articulation was so warm and natural. I absolutely loved the way this vocal group interacted, it was infectious.

On to JC Bach’s Lieber Herr Gott. Again the passing of this beautiful musical narrative from one group of singers to the other was utterly seductive and the concluding Amen just so satisfying. And so the concert progressed with breathtaking brilliance and insight, the singers continually changing positions to reinforce the gentlest of dramas. Just one gripe, those steps to the stage seem to be inviting a comedic moment that nobody would be laughing at.

Steve Crowther