One of the things new members say when they first arrive is: “I wish I’d known five years ago that this club existed!"
From the outset (see below), we have remained a haven for the study of Bach's most significant choral music. Because all our activities together are packed into six days 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. It has to be said that choir members may spend many hours in private study of the cantatas. There is no audition at present, but members practise when possible to improve the overall success of the weekend.
Additionally, the club contains a nerve centre of information on local 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. Some 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, and we fit in a lunch party on the Sunday session at the May weekend.
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.