The Essener Bachchor ( Essen Bach Choir) is a large oratorio mixed choir in the Ruhr area. The 120 singers of the choir are devoted primarily to performing major sacred works, also perform a cappella works of the early and new music. The choir has given performances at home and abroad and has participated in LP and radio recordings.
The choir works regularly on new oratorio literature, including Weihnachts-Oratorium (BWV 248), Johannes-Passion (BWV 245), Matthäus-passion (BWV 244), Magnificat (BWV 243) and Himmelfahrts-Oratorium (BWV 11) by J.S. Bach, Elias and Paulus by Felix Mendelssohn, Requiem by W.A. Mozart, Der Messias and Saul by George Frideric Handel, Messa da Requiem by Giuseppe Verdi, Der Einsiedler, Requiem and Der 100 Psalm by Max Reger, as well as War Requiem by Benjamin Britten and The Dream of Gerontius by Edward Elgar. The repertoire is complemented by a cappella literature.
The choir was founded in 1894 by Gustav Beckmann as Evangelischer Kirchenchor Essen. For the 25th year anniversary, 1919, it was renamed Chor in Essener Bachverein. Since its foundation, it was the choir of the Kreuzeskirche. After the destruction of the church in World War II, the choir became since 1951 Chor an der Erlöserkirche, and since 1961 the choir calls itself Essener Bachchor (Essen Bach Choir).
Concert tours: 1957: East Germany (Magdeburg, Halberstadt, Tangerhütte, Stendal); 1963: East and West Berlin; 1967: France (Lille, Paris), performance of B Minor Mass (BWV 232) by J.S. Bach with the Hamburger Symphoniker; 1968: France (Lille), performance of Mozart's Requiem with the Orchestre Symphonique de Radio-Lille; 1970: France (Lille), performance of Ein Deutsches Requiem by Johannes Brahms with the Orchestra of the ORTF; 1972: Denmark (Kolding, Esbjerg, Aarhus); 1973: Belgium (Couvin, Chimay); 1975: Belgium (Chimay), performance of Die Schöpfung by Joseph Haydn with the Big Symphony Orchestra of Radio Brussels and soprano Agnes Giebel; 1975: France (Paris), performance of Die Schöpfung at the Festival de Paris with simultaneous radio recording conducted by Leonce Gras; 1975: England, a cappella concerts in London (St. Paul's Cathedral, St. Martin in the Fields) and Coventry (Reconciliation Cathedral); 1976: Israel (Jerusalem, Haifa, Tel Aviv) at the invitation of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra in a cappella concerts under the direction of Lukas Foss; 1976: Greece (Athens, Piraeus); 1980: Belgium (Chimay).