IT WAS obvious how much the audience enjoyed and appreciated Furness Bach Choir’s concert Music for Double Choir from the warmth and enthusiasm of the applause at the end, writes Margaret Harrison.

Challenged to divide into separate groups of singers, and then sing a wholly choral programme of music in so many different styles, the choir proved themselves equal to the job, and in many cases excelled in the performance.

Conductor Marco Bellasi had provided an introduction to the music and its links with architecture in the printed programme. His verbal explanations between items helpfully set the scene in an informative and sometimes amusing way.

Making use of the layout of Ulverston Parish Church, the choir performed in a number of different formats – most notably successful in this was Gabrieli’s Hodie Christus Natus Est where a quintet of strong voices positioned in front of the altar contrasted with the body of the choir several yards further forward on the chancel steps.

I also particularly enjoyed the choruses from Handel’s Israel in Egypt with the swelling sounds and words tossed backwards and forwards between the two sets of singers positioned in the choir stalls. This aptly provided a musical picture of the Red Sea, parting and converging.

From the gentle blend of the a capella Hymn to the Virgin by Britten, to the final flourish of Handel’s Praise the Lord, the latter enhanced by Colin Dean’s virtuosic organ accompaniment, the choir with their conductor have worked hard to display the intricate and varying ways in which composers have written for a subdivided choir.