The members of the orchestra are drawn from other orchestras and active players from
the whole of Dorset and adjacent counties. The core of string players (normally
188.8.131.52.1) is complemented by additional bassoon and organ continuo and normally
a pair of oboes, sometimes with flutes, recorders, horns, trumpets, timps or as required
for a reasonably close representation of Bach's original instrumentation for the
works being studied. For practical reasons we play at concert pitch, not on period
instruments. However our conductors do ensure that we play as far as possible in
a historically informed style.
The object of the orchestra is to provide an authentic complement for the choir,
but the opportunity to learn from the riches of Bach's music and the deep experience
of our conductors in a friendly social environment inspires players to come back
time and again. The music is generally distributed two to three weeks in advance
for personal study. The parts often come from the London Bach Society and some are
the original handwritten copies of Paul Steinitz, so time may be required to review
legibility, page turns etc to avoid wasted time at the weekend. Note that LBS markups
should not be altered, and any essential additional annotation must of course be
erased before return.
The orchestral secretary, Mrs Frederica Paraiso, is responsible for engaging the
orchestra. She is always willing to hear from competent musicians who would like
to play in future. As it is essentially a voluntary activity, availability varies
for each meeting. However it is important to maintain the correct balance of numbers,
so attendance is by invitation only. A subscription is normally expected (£10 from
Feb 2013), although there may be exceptions, for example for first time players.