The Furness Bach Choir may bear the name of one world famous composer, but they frequently take on works by some other major names. On Saturday, at St Mary of Furness R C Church, in Ulverston, they turned their attentions to pieces by Haydn

FOR their concert Haydn Revealed, the Furness Bach Choir chose his Stabat Mater and the Nelson Mass.

The Stabat Mater, written in 1867, rapidly became a popular choral work, with performances across Europe.

It is not an easy work, but the choir took the harmonic and rhythmic shifts in their stride, and gave a fine, secure and sensitive performance. The music for soloists was sung by members of the choir, and the quality of their contribution shows what considerable talent they have available.

Particularly impressive was the bass solo Pro peccata sui gentis, sung by Ron Eadington. It is a work full of passionate drama and pathos, and the choir and soloists responded admirably to its demands.

Thirty years later Haydn wrote the Mass which came to be known as the “Nelson” Mass as it was performed in 1787, on the day Nelson won his victory at Aboukir Bay.

This is a choral composition written at the height of Haydn's musical career. From the opening Kyrie for choir and soprano solo, beautifully sung by Naomi Marczak, the music is robust and singable, and the choir obviously enjoyed it.

The balance of the choir was splendid, and in the contrapuntal fugues the parts came through with great clarity.

It was nice to see a tribute to organist Colin Dean in the programme. He has accompanied the choir for some 40 years and has contributed much to its continuing success.

As ever, the training and direction of the choir is crucial, and Anthony Milledge is to be congratulated for producing a most enjoyable concert.

Review by ALAN BOLT