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Hearing Link supports Bach Choir event – London

The Bach Choir and conductor David Hill will create the first signed performance of the choral masterpiece Missa Solemnis this Friday (28th June).

The event, supported by Hearing Link, will see the choir joined by Sir Richard Stilgoe, deaf musician Paul Whittaker OBE and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at the Royal Festival Hall.

Central to this performance will be the choir’s participation: singers will use British Sign Language (BSL) in a section of the ‘Credo’ of the Missa Solemnis while they are singing: “I believe in one god, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all that is visible and invisible.” While the full performance is signed in BSL by Paul Whittaker OBE.

Signing the Missa Solemnis offers a unique insight into Beethoven’s writing, especially in light of the composer’s long battle with hearing loss.

One of classical music’s most famous disabled musicians, Beethoven began losing his hearing only in his twenties, just as he built a reputation as a musician and composer. His 1802 Heiligenstadt Testament, written but never sent to his brothers, shows the depths of despair to which Beethoven was driven by his loss of hearing: “how could I possibly admit an infirmity in the one sense which ought to be more perfect in me than others, a sense which I once possessed in the highest perfection, a perfection such as few in my profession enjoy or ever have enjoyed.”

In his later years Beethoven developed a stoical resignation to his deafness, resolving to make his peace with his condition and carry on in spite of it. His progressive illness eventually left him profoundly deaf, unable to perform or conduct, and able to communicate only through conversation books. The 1824 Missa Solemnis dates from this late period in his life, a time when Beethoven had come to rely on his inner ear as much as the few sounds he could still hear.

Founded in 1876, The Bach Choir is recognised as one of the world’s leading choruses, building upon a tradition that
combines musical excellence with creativity and innovation. The independent chorus has 250 amateur singers from diverse
backgrounds who join together to take pride in performing, recording and sharing music at the highest level.

The concert will take place on Friday 28th June, 7.30pm at the Royal Festival Hall, London.

Life Vice President of Hearing Dogs and Hearing Link, Ronnie Bourne will feature in the event’s programme sharing his own personal story.

An infrared system will also be available.