The Montreal Bach Choir's first concert, Bach's Christmas Oratorio and Cantata No. 5, was held at the Ermitage 19 Dec 1951. Subsequent concerts were held regularly at Redpath Hall and Erskine and American United Church with such permanent or associate members as Patricia Creighton, Marcelle Dumontet, Maureen Forrester, Claire Grenon-Masella, René Lacourse, Claude Létourneau, and Jan Simons performing as soloists. Other guest singers included Pierrette Alarie, Marguerite Lavergne, Robert Savoie, and Léopold Simoneau.
In 1958 the choir toured four European countries, broadcasting for the BBC and Swiss and French radios and performing with the Hart House Orchestra at the Brussels World's Fair and with the Orchestre national at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris. It was the first Canadian choir to perform at the Edinburgh Festival (1958). The choir toured western Canada (1959, 1961) and Japan (1961), performed with the New York City Ballet and the Montreal Consort of Ancient Instruments, and appeared in the film Music from Montreal (National Film Board 1962). The choir's last performance before disbanding was of Bach's St John Passion, 6 Apr 1966 at the Salle Claude-Champagne.
The Montreal Bach Choir included in its repertoire works by François Brassard, Gabriel Charpentier, Jean Coulthard, Robert Fleming, and Michel Perrault and premiered Violet Archer's Proud Horses (1953) and Apocalypse (19 Jan 1959), Jean Papineau-Couture's Psaume CL (1955), Pierre Mercure's Cantate pour une joie (1956), Kelsey Jones's Songs of Time (27 Feb 1957) and Prophecy of Micah (5 Feb 1964), Robert Turner's Mobile ( commissioned, 9 Mar 1962), and John Beckwith's The Trumpets of Summer (29 Nov 1964).
Among the choir's presidents were Huntley Cameron (1954-63) and Leslie Hughes (1964).
Author Nadia Turbide
Archer - Bennett - Turner - Des Prez - Issac - Hassler. 1952. RCI 70
Bach - Somers - Turner - Champagne - Vanier - Joachim. (1965). RCI 206/(Joachim) 6-ACM 14/(Somers) 10-ACM 7/(Champagne) 4-ACM 30
Byrd Mass for Four Voices; Mass for Five Voices. (1962). Vox STDL-500-880
de Brumel - Mauduit - Charpentier - Jones - Coulthard - Archer. (1962). RCI 189/(Jones) 5-ACM 24/(Coulthard) 6-ACM 10/(Archer) 7-ACM 17
Janequin choral works. (1961). Vox STDL-500-710
Mon Canada: French-Canadian folksongs (arr Brassard). (1960s). Vox STPL-511-860/Turnabout CTC-32003/(selections) MMG CC-2009
Music from the Court and Chapel of Henry VIII. Consort of Viols, O. Joachim conductor, Lyman organ and spinet. (1963). Vox STDL-500-950/Turnabout CTC-32005
Music of the Spanish Renaissance at the Court of Emperor Charles the Fifth. Consort of Viols, O. Joachim conductor, Lyman organ. (1963). Vox SDTL-500-890/Turnabout TV-34264
Palestrina Adoramus te Christe - Britten Ceremony of Carols. Iösch harp. 1953. RCI 89
Papineau-Couture Psaume CL. Instr ensemble, Little conductor, Lavergne soprano, Jeannotte tenor, Aubut organ. 1956. RCI 128/6-ACM 4
Victoria Missa alma redemptoris: Motets. (1964). Vox STDL-501-090
Lee, Betty. 'These amateurs impress the pros,' Toronto Globe Magazine, 21 Nov 1959
Links to Other Sites
Montréal Bach Choir
The Music division archival guide to Montréal Bach Choir fonds. From Library and Archives Canada.