St. Thomas Choir, Leipzig
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 | 8:00 pm
The Thomanerchor — otherwise known as the St. Thomas Choir of Leipzig, whose most famous cantor was Johann Sebastian Bach — is one of the world’s most enduring musical institutions. Founded in 1212 to provide music for church services, The Thomanerchor hired Bach in 1723; he held the position until his death and is buried at St. Thomas. Bach’s music remains a mainstay of the choir’s repertoire, and its fifty exceptionally talented boy singers, all between the ages of nine and eighteen still perform his works every Sunday. In recent decades the enormous choir has made international touring a central part of its activities, taking the entire ensemble beyond the church walls of Leipzig and out into the world. The New York Times calls the choir’s sound “magnificent, soaring, poignant, ethereal.”
Inside the appropriately gothic setting of Duke Chapel, the Thomanerchor sings sacred works by Germany’s most revered composers. Led by cantor Gotthold Schwarz and organist Stefan Altner, the Choir sings a Psalm setting and a selection of motets and madrigals by early baroque composer Heinrich Schütz. The choristers turn next to a hymn setting and a sacred madrigal by Schütz’s contemporary and Bach’s predecessor at St. Thomas by a hundred years, Johann Schein. At the center of the concert are three Bach motets: Fürchte dich nicht, Komm, Jesu, komm, and Der Geist hilft unsrer Schwachheit auf, all for double choir. The Thomanerchor also includes several works from the nineteenth century: Felix Mendelssohn’s Mitten wir im Leben sind, and two movements from his Deutsche Liturgie: “Kyrie eleison” and “Heilig.”
Schütz: The One-Hundredth Psalm, SWV 36
Schein: “Herr Gott, du unser Zuflucht bist,” from Cantional oder Gesangbuch Augspurgischer Confession
Schein: “Ich bin jung gewesen,” from Israelsbrünnlein
Bach: Fürchte dich nicht, BWV 228
Bach: Komm, Jesu, komm, BWV 229
Mendelssohn: “Kyrie eleison” and “Heilig” from Die Deutsche Liturgie
Mendelssohn: Mitten wir in Leben sind
Schütz: “Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt,” SWV 380; “Verleih uns Frieden,” SWV 372; and “Gib unsern Fürsten,” SWV 373, from Geistliche Chormusik
Bach: Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf, BWV 226
St. Thomas Choir 'Leipzig 2017'
St. Thomas Choir 'Bach: Mass in B Minor, with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra'
St. Thomas Choir 'The Place of the Blest: III. The Place of the Blest'
St. Thomas Choir 'Brief Mass: I. Kyrie'
“Surely this is what it must have been like to hear Bach lead the ensemble in one of his cantatas."