Birmingham Bach Choir: Espressivo!

Birmingham Bach Choir

A concert programme of sun-drenched Italian music

Performances Great Malvern Priory (16 June) & St Alban’s Birmingham (30 June)

Birmingham Bach Choir head into summer with Espressivo!, an eclectic selection of Italian choral music spanning four centuries (16 Jun 2018, Great Malvern, Worcester; 30 Jun 2018, Birmingham).

With a programme of both sacred and secular choral music, highlights include madrigals by two of the greatest Italians of their day, late Renaissance composers Claudio Monteverdi and Carlo Gesualdo.

Born in 1567 in the Duchy of Milan, Monteverdi was a pioneer who modernised church music and laid the foundations for opera. The spine tingling Rimanti in pace a la dolente e bella Fillida is from his third book of madrigals, published in 1592.

A controversial figure, the private life of Carlo Gesualdo, the Prince of Venosa, has tended to overshadow his musical accomplishments. He brutally murdered his wife and her lover, having caught them in the act, in 1590 (for which he was not punished), had a disastrous second marriage marred by accusations of abuse, lived in isolation, and shacked up with a witch. Yet, having spent much of his considerable time and resources on music, his madrigals are considered some of the most powerful and expressive ever written, much admired since their rediscovery in the mid-20th century.

The programme also features choral works by versatile Baroque composer Antonio Lotti, who produced masses, cantatas, madrigals, and around 30 operas; the celebrated Venetian Giovanni Gabrieli; lauded Renaissance organist and composer Girolamo Frescobaldi; Gioachino Rossini, the 18th century writer famed for The Barber of Seville; and concludes with three magical part-songs, written in the early 1940s by choral master Ildebrando Pizzetti.

Birmingham Bach Choir Chair Sarah Platt, said: “This night of Italian music includes unusual choral pieces by composers perhaps better known for other works, as well as some real surprises by lesser known figures. There’s real variety, from intensely moving Renaissance madrigals to Pizzetti’s beautiful combination of poetry and biblical texts.”

Birmingham Bach Choir: Espressivo! can be enjoyed at Great Malvern Priory, Great Malvern, on Saturday 16 June 2018, followed by a repeat performance at St Alban’s Church, Highgate, Birmingham, on Saturday 30 June 2018.

Tickets are available from:


Birmingham Bach Choir: Espressivo!
A night of sun-drenched Italian choral music.

Saturday 16 June 2018
Great Malvern Priory, Church Street, Malvern, Worcestershire WR14 2AY
£16 (£14 conc)
Details / tickets:

Saturday 30 June 2018
St Alban the Martyr Church, Conybere Street, Highgate, Birmingham B12 0YH
£16 (£14 conc)
Details / tickets:

Espressivo! Programme:

  • Gabrieli: Exultavit cor meum a 6
  • Frescobaldi: Kyrie (8 parts) from Missa sopra l’aria della / Monica a 8
  • Lotti: Miserere mei
  • Monteverdi: Rimanti in pace! / Ond’ ei, di morte
  • Rossini: O salutaris hostia
  • Viadana: Exsultate justi
  • Gesualdo: Gioite voi col canto / S’io non miro moro / Itene, O miei sospiri
  • Pizzetti: Tre composizione corali / Cade la sera (1942) / Ululate, quia proper est dies Domini (1943) / Recordare, Domine (1943)


As one of the UK’s leading large chamber choirs Birmingham Bach Choir has been contributing to the musical life of the West Midlands since 1919, making it one of the longest established musical groups in the area. Although the main focus is the Baroque period (especially JS Bach), the choir performs music spanning over 500 years including 20th and 21st century works.

“Stunning … great waves of beautifully phrased eloquence … constant fascination” 5 stars – Birmingham Post (reviewing Byrd’s The Great Service, March 2018)

“A huge degree of dynamic subtlety… exhilarating… a wonderful evening.”  5-stars – Birmingham Post (reviewing Magnificat at Birmingham Cathedral, March 2015).

“Sounding awesomely impressive.” 4-stars – Birmingham Post (reviewing Great Russian Sacred Music, November 2016)

“Singing of passion, grace…” 4-stars – Birmingham Post (reviewing St Mark Passion, March 2017)

“This was a reading luminous in its clarity, exhilaratingly detailed in the fine-etched shaping and balancing of its contrapuntal lines, and delivering diction of unaffected immediacy.” 4-stars – Birmingham Post (reviewing Bach’s B Minor Mass, December 2017)

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