29 September 2012

Time and eternity

This was this most delicious performance to happen on. The chamber choir Apollini et Musis are members of the State Opera choir and who gather to perform a range of other musics, from renaissance through to modern. They performed in the Bode Museum, all stucco and marble and renaissance grandeur and Italian artworks including several Della Robbia ceramics. They sang a capella for some songs, or accompanied, but never overwhelmed, by a trumpet and four trombones. There was a drummer and improvisations on a small portable organ between tunes. The voices were drenched in echo in this hard, marble space, but when a voice, a bass or a tenor or a glorious soprano, appeared from the agglomeration, it was bliss. And these voices would rise with a phrase or vocal line and drop away to pass prominence to another. This was courtly music but it also concerned topics of mortality. First were brass, played from behind, in another room, so distant. Then an organ improv. Then the choir placed themselves and the immense melancholy of Purcell’s Music for the funeral of Queen Mary. The four trombones (or slide trumpets, which Purcell wrote for) and one drummer started from the room at the back, then moved forward to stand with the choir, eventually moving to another room behind the stage area to end. Another organ improvisation and the choir moved to an upper gallery under a reflective half-dome where they performed a series of Bruckner motets and Scarlatti’s Intellige clamorem meum. This was the most strange piece of staging I’ve seen (or couldn’t see, given angles) but I’m sure they liked the sound under that dome. Then final organ improvs and an all-in encore. Choirs certainly like echo and this certainly was an echo. I could hear bounce and remnants clearly for a good 4 seconds. A little echo does wonders to meld and enrich the voices but too much can hide detail. I felt I lost detail here, but then my ears aren’t the best. But such glorious voices and such gilded brass and such doleful and poignant music: perhaps the echo fits the poignancy. This was a stunningly beautiful and touching concert with beautiful voices and delicate brass that I would have liked to hear with more detail. Superb.

The Chamber Choir Apollini et Musis (members of Prometheus Ensemble Berlin) performed with organ, four brass and drums at the Basilica at the Bode Museum. The performers were: Frank Markowitsch (director), Haeyun Lee, Konstanze Löwe, Andrea Réti, Andrea Willert (soprano), Ulla Kraemer, Hannah Lukaschewitsch, Andrea Möller (alto), Andreas Bornemann, Martin Netter, Daniel Steiner Itenor), Simon Berg, Christoph Drescher, Thomas Neubauer (bass), Tom Pielucha (trumpet), Michael Knake (alto trombones), Carl Philipp Kaptain (tenor trombone), Peter Jaka (bass trombone), Fabian Musick (drums), Arno Schneider (organ). They performed Purcell’s Music for the funeral of Queen Mary, Bruckner motets and Scarlatti’s Intellige clamorem meum.

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