One of the things new members say when they first arrive is: “I wish I’d known years ago that this club existed!"
From the outset (see below), we have provided a haven for the study of Bach's most significant choral music. Because our activities are packed into just six days in a year, it’s possible to combine membership with that of almost any other choir or group: a weekend in February, one in May, one in October.
Coaching and direction are committed to historically informed performance. Choir members are strongly advised to acquaint themselves with the programme in advance. There is no audition, but singers do need to prepare in order to gain the most from the weekend.
The club may provide information on musical events throughout the south of England: once you join us, you will know what is going on elsewhere!
If what we do appeals to you, give us a try. Many choral singers are extremely adaptable, and can get to grips with unfamiliar music quite quickly. Can you? It’s also a chance to meet like-minded people, with a social aspect: we hold a lunch party on the Sunday session at the May weekend.
DBCC originated in 1956! A list of all works performed to date is here.
In those early days Paul Steinitz, one of the key figures in introducing Bach’s music to the British public, set himself the task, with the London Bach Society, of performing all Bach's 200 church cantatas. This took thirty years! So much of the music was new to him (performance-wise at least) and to everyone, that he took the opportunity to try the cantatas out in Dorset with a dedicated "scratch" choir.
The Cantata Club has now performed well over half of Bach's 200 church cantatas and 16 secular cantatas. We have also studied many of Bach's passions, motets and songs, and choral compositions by other Baroque composers, such as Handel, Schütz, Gabrieli and Palestrina.
We are firmly placed within a network of music practitioners and music lovers throughout the south of England and beyond. Our story is continued in Margaret Steinitz's own words.