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Junge Kantorei (Choir)

Originally founded: 1961 - Hessen and Nassaur, Germany (as "Hessische Schülerkantorei")
Founded: 1968 - Frankfurt/Main, Bonn, Heidelberg and Marburg an der Lahn, Germany

The Junge Kantorei is a choir of unique kind: a "professional amateur choir", which won its own profile by its wide musical range and a specific work method. 80 to 120 singers form the Junge Kantorei. It consists of four partial choirs, which have their seat in Frankfurt/Main, Bonn, Heidelberg and Marburg an der Lahn. One rehearses decentralised at a common program.

The history of the Junge Kantorei begins in 1961: Joachim Carlos Martini received the order to create a youth choir for the pupil work of the Evangelist Church in Hessen and Nassaur. The "Hessische Schülerkantorei" made itself quickly a name in many concerts in their homeland and abroad. In 1968 the "Hessische Schülerkantorei" united with the student choir of the Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-Universität, the "Frankfurt Motettenchor" and the "Dornbusch Kantorei" to the Junge Kantorei. Soon it became a vocal ensemble of international reputation with numerous performances of Baroque, Classical, Romantic and contemporary a-cappella and oratorio works.

The Junge Kantorei is open for all human beings; the joy in the choir singing has and is ready to place itself to the intensive rehearsal work. An entrance examination does not give it. However, the readiness is presupposed to invest time and energy into the detailed development and argument with the respective choir work. The members rehearse in the small circle. The work of the Junge Kantorei is put on stressed chamber music. Thus also amateur singers succeed in learning to sing with professional requirement. The intensive argument with the problems of the being correct education and the intonation help to unfold its own singing culture and to develop a uniform articulation in each group - always dependent on the character of the respective musical text.

The musical repertoire of the Junge Kantorei covers the entire spectrum of sacred and secular choral music of many eras and styles in the history of music. The attempt is undertaken by content-wise emphasis to include the crises of our days into the musical work. In the tendency to make connections and cross connections visible the Junge Kantorei has performed many thematic cycles along the years.

After a extensive occupation with "Musica Sacra Romantica", the oratorio and the a-cappella-compositions of J. Brahms, A. Bruckner, A. Dvorák, G. Verdi and M. Reger followed, came a long phase of the dealing with the works of the Early and High Baroque and the classical period: C. Monteverdi, S. Rossi Hebreo, Heinrich Schütz, J.S. Bach and W.A. Mozart.

Meanwhile, the intensive occupation with the oratorio literature of the Early and High Baroque, the Classical and Romantic periods did not suspended an argument with contemporary compositions: Arnold Schoenberg's Survivors from Warsaw, dedicated to the victims of the extermination camps of Auschwitz, was sung by the Junge Kantorei by the Junge Kantorei in a Frankfurt in its first performance; likewise Dies Irae by Krzysztof Penderecki and Te Deum by Zoltán Kodály.

Since 1986 the Junge Kantorei opened to the public a large extent of the so far hidden sacred and secular oratorios of George Frideric Handel. It took care of thereby musical preciousness, which is "outrageous" in the true sense of the word. At the same time the Junge Kantorei sought to bring to its listeners the charm of the personality and the strength of the thoughts of the important humanist and reconnaissance G.F. Handel. Inspired resonance the performances of the cantatas Eternal source of light divine, The ways of Zion do mourn and Dixit Dominus Domino meo, as well as the oratorios The Messiah, Jephtha, L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, Solomon, Belshazzar, Esther, Athalia, Saul, Il trionfo del tempo e della verità, Deborah and Nabal.

High points of the musical tradition along the years have been the oratorio concerts of the Junge Kantorei at Whitsuntide in the Basilica of the Klosters Eberbach with Eltville im Rheingau and in the Peterskirche in Heidelberg. Since 1976 the Junge Kantorei - since 1987 with the dem Barockorchester Frankfurt - specifies each year big choir and orchestra works at Whitsuntide. Together with the Barockorchester Frankfurt, the Junge Kantorei created its own festival. Many renowned guest soloists have worked and participate in it. For some years the concerts in Kloster Eberbach are recorded and are available on CD under international record label.

The Junge Kantorei has participated many times in important music festivals in their homeland and abroad, such as the Flanders Festival, the English Bach Festival, the Festival de Strasbourg, the Festival du Comings, the Händel-Festspielen in Halle and in Karlsruhe, as well as in 2001 with the oratorio Nabal by G.F. Handel/Smith at the Festival de la Musique Baroque in Lyon. The Junge Kantorei expresses their social requests also with Benefit concerts. They have performed such concerts for the reconstruction of the Frankfurt's Alten Oper, in favour of HIV infected children and - with many friendly musicians and ensembles from Frankfurt and the Federal Republic - for "all foreigners of the world".

From their establishment, Joachim Carlos Martini has been looking "after the lost sound": forgotten one, lost and rediscovered choral and instrumental music of the Late Renaissance and the Early baroque let a European music centre of the past become in each case alive - so in 1998 Italy with unknown works of Alessandro Scarlatti, Giovanni Legrenzi, Antonio Lotti and Emanuele d'Astorga; in 1999 France with works of Marc Antoine Charpentier and François Couperin; in 2000 and 2001 England with works by William Byrd, John Dowland, Orlando Gibbons, William Lawes, Thomas Preston, Henry Purcell, Thomas Tallis and Thomas Weelkes. Many forgotten musical treasures still apply to be unfolded. Next year (2005), the coming years the Junge Kantorei plans a tour to Spain and Portugal.

Source: Junge Kantorei Website, English translation by Aryeh Oron (November 2004)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (November 2004)

Joachim Carlos Martini: Short Biography | Junge Kantorei | Barockorchester Frankfurt | Recordings of Vocal Works

Links to other Sites

Junge Kantorei (Official Website) [German]


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