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Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden & Tölzer Knabenchor
Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works
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Not Harnoncourt but Leonhardt

Hugo Saldias wrote (May 1, 2003):
I just saw a very interesting news about the Bach Fest in Leipzig next month. If you go to:
and click on the title:


that is the highest event of the bach festival you will see that on may 25 at 5 PM in the St Thomas Church there will be a concert with the famous TÖLZER KNABENCHOR that is the Boys Choir of Tölzer and it will be conducted by Herr Gustav Leonhardt ! Considered a Bach authority. How come Harnoncourt is not there?

Anyway that is all.

Aryeh Oron wrote (May 1, 2003):
[To Hugo Saldias] If you take a look at the page of Tolzer Knabenchor's recordings of Bach's Vocal Works:
you will be able to see that this choir recorded with both Harnoncourt & Leonhardt in their joint cantata cycle for Telefunken/Teldec.

Hugo Saldias wrote (May 1, 2003):
[To Aryeh Oron] Thanks, I missed that.Your web site is very informative.


Tölzer Knabenchor - A Baroque Debut in America

Boyd Pehrson wrote (July 9, 2003):
Below is a review of the Tolzer Knabenchor at the Boston Early Music Festival last month, written by B_C member Douglas Neslund. Of obvious interest to this group are mention of singers from the Teldec series, and on use of old instruments and boychoirs- the use of both are eminently justified in a programme of Schutz. Thank you Douglas for sharing by way of fine writing.

Douglas Neslund wrote [To Voice of Angels ML] (June 17, 2003):
The Tölzer Knabenchor (Tölz Boys Choir) is the Grammy Award-winning, lifetime achievement of a single man, Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden, and his wife Helga, with the choir's founding in 1956. It was the maestro's intention to recreate original Baroque performance practices with appropriate forces after having worked in his youth under the direction of Kurt Thomas at Leipzig's Thomaskirche, which to this day employs a very large ensemble to present the works of Bach, Schütz, and other worthies. Forty-seven years later, one cannot ignore his ultimate success in achieving this goal. The list of top serious music conductors with which the Tölzers have worked, the major opera houses around the world in which they have performed, and the sheer number of recordings made by this choir already prove they are top drawer. As far as credentials are concerned, they are by far the crPme de la crPme .

But it was with fear-laced enthusiasm that Boston's Early Music Festival organizers agreed that this unique choir of men and boys be presented in the 2003 edition of BEMF in a concert of 16 polyphonic motets drawn from Heinrich Schütz's Geistliche Chormusik (Sacred Choral Music),1648. Festival organizers understandably blanched at the high cost of importing 15 boys and 9 young men, the continuo of two, and five members of Basel-based Concerto Palatino, to perform before an unknown number of paying public. They needn't have worried.

While the recently refurbished 950-seat New England Conservatory Jordan Hall was not packed to the walls this time around, one may expect that tickets for future Tölzer concerts presenting such an historically informed and scintillating program of early music will be in highest demand. The audience of about 800 greeted Maestro Schmidt-Gaden and his troupe with the sort of respect that only a knowing audience will grant. After each selection, their applause was sustained and earnest, stopping only when the conductor turned around to begin the next motet.

Maestro Schmidt-Gaden's approach to music of the Baroque period is as defensible as it is bold, logical as it is balanced, and startling as it is beautiful. An orchestra plays notes; a chorus sings text and notes, and this conductor is adamant that his charges convey not only text, but their clear meaning. If one imagines a continuum between making beautiful tones and choral chords on one end, and the necessity of interrupting such beautiful tone with consonants (German, at that) on the other, then one must go a few steps further in the direction of textual clarity to grasp the dedication of this maestro to delivery of the text and its message. To his insistence on textual clarity, one must add generous heaps of emotional color and a wide palette of dynamics. As a result, some listeners will be disturbed in losing absolutely cohesive choral unity, since the music of the Geistliche Chormusik is mostly contrapuntal, with the text being thrown from section to section like a Baroque beach ball. But when Schütz resolves his motets with powerful eight- to twelve-part chords, this choir sings with incredible beauty of tone, balance and blend. They can do it all.

Many of the motets on this occasion featured solo singers: sopranos Maximilian Miehle and Patrick Prasch; mezzo-soprano Ludwig Obst; altos Tom Amir and Raphael Kriegmair, tenors Christian Fliegner and Matthias Schloderer; and basses Maximilian Hinz and Ralf Ludewig. Master Obst did by far the heaviest lifting, and in so doing, paid the price in diminishing returns as the concert unfolded. In the motet "Ich bin eine rufende Stimme in der Wüsten," he was simply overpowered by Christian Fliegner's plangent tenor, the Palatino band and continuo. Master Prasch, whose parents are British subjects living in Munich, had his chance in the single encore,"Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt" to sing with the entire instrumental band, plus soloists Amir, Fliegner, Schloderer and Ludewig - and sang in a fearless, clear treble voice that soared above the ensemble. Master Amir, an Israeli lad, provided beautiful alto contributions throughout, but was especially remarkable in "Die mit Tränen säen." Master Miehle, known internally to the choir as the "Chor-opa" (choir grandpa, since he is the eldest member), provided exquisitely produced treble lines in several of the motets.

Maestro Schmidt-Gaden conducts in his own style, which is to say he does not count beats, stir the musical winds, or even remind his singers of entrances. He lunges, he leaps, he twirls, he stabs the air, he sweeps an arm grandly, all in subjective tone painting that, to the casual observer, might seem to be exaggerated gesture, or perhaps even ego indulgence. Such an assumption would be completely wrong. The maestro is consumed with the goal of recreating by any means necessary a performance of music often presented by others in a colorless, lethargic and ultimately boring manner. He insists on proper tuning - in this concert and by this composer, A = 463 Hz. No compromises are possible. Each voice, drawn from a very large trained and eager talent pool back in Germany, is carefully worked into a perfect ensemble. Prior to the concert, no less than nine hours of Boston-based rehearsal were dedicated to achieving this goal. Such dedication to the choral art is seldom to be found. Fewer still are the dedicated and informed who can train and develop such beautiful young voices, and to mold them into an ensemble capable of presenting the worthy music of Heinrich Schütz at the highest level. A return to America in and beyond Boston in the near future is in the early planning stages. Given Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden's 65 years, and a paucity of such ensembles in this country, it is not a moment too soon.


Bach Cantates [Toelzer Knabenchor]

Claude wrote (June 17, 2011):
How to get a new CD with old recordings ?
15,98 euros
34,99 euros
£ 31.66

Rocío Sánchez wrote (June 18, 2011):
When I was 12 I heared for the first time Bach Cantatas with those boys, and Harnonncourt..., and I discovered the Tölzer. When I was 19 somebody gave to me a copy of this selection that you present here, and then I had clear that I wanted the whole cicle, what happened when I was 23.

With that Teldec- compilation of two + two discs, the first night I could not sleap, I wanted to hear it and I did it, but I had a little problem: I connected the earphones but I didn't select the option in the amplificator. I was so excited that I didn't realise it and at 01:00 there were the Tölzer singing for the whole house and part of the others... It took only a little time because my father came running. Surely he though that I was definitively and without remedy crazy. "What on earth are you doing? Go sleaping!". "Jawohl, jawohl!". As soon as he left the room I silenced the loudspeakers and I went on. You are wondering at what time I went to bed. Hm, I don't remember. The experience was so wonderful that I continued for a long time awake.


A wonderful video clip with T÷lz boys

Rocío Sánchez wrote (June 18, 2011):
Greetings. Here a great video clip recorded by the German television WDR.
Bach: opening choir from BWV 172.
Tölzer Knabenchor.
Orchestra L'Arte del mondo.


Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden: Short Biography | Tölzer Knabenchor | Recordings of Vocal Works | General Discussions | Motets - G. Schmidt-Gaden

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