Handwashers’ Newsletter 11th October 2020

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Andy continues his occasional series about our soloists:

Ashley Riches was our bass soloist in May 2010 when we sang Mozart’s Vespers and Haydn’s Nelson Mass. Of all our student soloists in recent years he has probably carved out the most distinguished professional career, performing and recording widely in opera, oratorio and song. From being an undergraduate chorister at King’s, he went on to the Guildhall to expand his trade and was subsequently a Young Artist at the Royal Opera House and a BBC New Generation Artist.  He has worked with many leading conductors and orchestras and performs regularly at the top London venues. You don’t get to make your debut at the BBC Proms with John Eliot Gardiner or go on a European tour singing Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with Masaaki Suzuki and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment unless you’re pretty good!   

Of the growing list of Bach Passion performances and recordings to Ashley’s credit, one is of particular interest to us: the first recording of Neil Jenkins’ English translation of the St John Passion by Crouch End Festival Chorus, released in April 2017 just after we performed the work ourselves. Here, their conductor David Temple talks about embarking on the recording and his experiences with it, together with a promotional clip: https://www.gramophone.co.uk/blogs/article/unmoved-by-bach-s-st-john-passion-try-listening-to-it-in-english.  

Subsequently Gramophone reviewer Malcolm Riley wrote: “I must confess that – given a long-held preference for listening to (and performing) works in their original tongue – I was prepared to scoff at such an affront to Bach’s intentions. However, by the end of the opening chorus and the Evangelist’s first gripping appearance I was completely hooked.”  I don’t think he’d be alone in holding that view, at least as far as this particular edition is concerned.  The brief extracts from the Crouch End recording in the next link will, I’m sure, rekindle fond memories of our concert three and a half years ago:   

https://soundcloud.com/user-848743759/bach-st-john-passion .


Sorry the pictures in last week’s Newsletter were in the wrong place. It was down to the

He really is a little monkey you know! Ed.


The times we live in: