Dvořák and Janáček

13 April 2024

… I was able to savour all over again those sweet opening phrases of the work in the “Kyrie”, here beautifully floated by the choir, with conductor Shawn Michael Condon beautifully controlling the “ebb-and-flow’ dynamics of the lines, creating an almost lullabic sound around a crescendo of tones and associated emotions. The “Christe” passages made a telling contrasted effect, especially when the Kyrie refrain returned at the end, plus some briefly reiterated “Christe christe” murmurings.

… Very great credit to all concerned with the Bach Choir of Wellington for a well-planned and engagingly-delivered concert, eminently worthy of ongoing memory …

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Duruflé – Requiem and music for ANZAC Day

23 April 2023

The Bach Choir, an important component of Wellington’s musical life for the past 55 years, is in good heart. Under the astute direction of Shawn Michael Condon the overall sound made by 50-odd voices is well integrated, intonation and the balance  between the parts good. It was easy to see that the choir has been well rehearsed with considerable attention to detail, but it has to be said that in the notoriously cavernous acoustic of Wellington Cathedral of St Paul it was sometimes more a matter of seeing people doing all the right things rather than always hearing the benefits. A pity, because this was an enterprising and interesting programme. – Roger Wilson, Guest Reviewer for Middle C

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Dvořák – Stabat Mater

17 April 2021

“The contralto and bass began in beseeching mode, drawing in the soprano and tenor and eventually the choir, building towards a climax in the manner of the first movement, except that this one peaked more positively! As the soloists rhapsodised, in the expectation of the prospect of Paradise, the “Amens” suddenly burst out, soloists and choir exchanging these impulses of affirmation with a wondrous ferment, conductor Shaun Michael Condon steering everything expertly forwards towards a great peroration. The final Quando corpus morietur , slow, grand and solemn, left Douglas Mews’ piano rhapsodising, and the voices repeating all kinds of ecstatic “Amens” – at the conclusion of it all, the musicians were happily spent, and the audience exhilarated, and appreciative, with a real “buzz” of excitement in the foyer afterwards!” – Middle C

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Rossini – Petite Messe Solennelle

11 May 2019

“The swaggering rhythms and heroic vocal manner with which the performers here put across the Domine Deus section of the Gloria added a further dimension to the depth of feeling built up by the opening Kyrie and Christe sections to the music, each sequence beautifully shaped by conductor Shawn Michael Condon and delivered with a steadiness and luminosity of tone that did the choristers proud.” – Middle C

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To St Cecilia and Music

16 December 2018

“[…] there was no escaping the quality of the singing under the choir’s director Shawn Michael Condon: clearly articulated, dynamically flexible and varied, and simply interesting in its story-telling character.” – Middle C

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Mass in B minor impressive and stylish

13 May 2018

“It only took a moment for me to think ‘Now we’re in for a good time’. […] the sheer majesty and complexity of Bach’s contrapuntal writing is mind-blowing.” – Middle C

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Vivaldi and Bach

14 May 2017

“First up was Vivaldi’s well-known Gloria, RV 589. This was taken at a slick pace, but The Chiesa Ensemble, notably the trumpets, were up to it. The attack from the choir was excellent, as were the gradations of dynamics. The choir threw themselves into this lively work with vigour … ” – Middle C

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Purcell, Mozart, Parry and Whitbourn

15 May 2016

“The last section [of Mozart’s Vesperae solennes de confessore, K 339], the ‘Magnificat’, ranks with other great settings of that text and the choir did it energetic justice, with a final gathering of splendid solo forces; and bold choral singing … ” – Middle C

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St.Matthew Passion rich and dramatic

Performed 29 March 2015. (credits:, videographer – Tony Hiles)
In the above extract the choir sings the chorus “Herr, wir haben gedacht, daß dieser Verführer sprach”.

“… It made for an extraordinarily satisfying and enriching musical experience – one suspects for both the audience and the musicians, in this case – and an occasion I think the Bach Choir can justly regard as a triumph.” – Middle C

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Bach Choir hits the Christmas Spot

28 November 2015

“Our sense of ‘the ordinary and the fabulous’ was nicely blurred by the juxtapositioning of audience carols with the rest of the programme, our rendition of Away in a Manger followed as it was by five lovely settings by Richard Rodney Bennett of Christmas texts from earlier times. […] most enjoyable!”

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Fauré and other delights

5 April 2014

“… Stephen Rowley’s conducting enabled the work to unfold with a kind of natural outpouring of expression, as almost nothing seemed forced or too sharply-etched – only an unexpected intensification of tempo and tension at the words “Lux aeterna luceat eis” which came to a dramatic head at “quia pius est” gave me a start for a few seconds, until I realized that what he was doing at that point was actually working. …” – Middle C

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Resplendent Mozart Requiem

31 March 2012

“… As the work progressed the choir’s energies seemed constantly to renew themselves, the vigour and focus of the “Osanna” fugues carrying over to the final “Cum sanctis tuis”, and bringing things to a resplendent conclusion. But there was also dignity, tenderness and warmth to be had from the Agnus Dei, with Douglas Mews’ registrations deftly coloring the music’s different dynamics. …” – Middle C

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Brahms and Mendelssohn Performance – Auf dem See

28 July 2012