After a live concert abstinence due to the pandemic, the Young Chamber Choir Basel, under the baton of Tobias Stückelberger, who has just been appointed musical director of the renowned Singknaben of St. Ursenkathedrale Solothurn, sings alone in front of a real audience for the first time again - with a program that has quite a bit going for it: In Veljo Tormis' anti-war song "Raua Needmine", archaic sounds are used to curse the weapons that have repeatedly caused suffering to people over the centuries. The Estonian composer wrote the work in 1972, when his homeland was suffering under the yoke of Soviet occupation. This suggests where he took the inspiration to capture subcutaneously seething rage in music. Reinforced by a shaman drum, the choir chants the text taken from the Finnish national epic "Kalevala" until the pent-up emotion is finally released in an apocalyptic vision unparalleled in choral literature.
Often of a much gentler nature, but no less impressive, is the central work of the evening: in Alfred Schnittke's monolithic "Concerto for Choir," the singers of the Junge Kammerchor perform one of the key works of the German-Russian composer. Written to texts from the "Book of Sad Songs" by the Armenian monk Gregor von Narek, who lived around the turn of the first millennium, the music oscillates stylistically between Orthodox choral singing and Russian late Romanticism. With its four movements and its time span of about three quarters of an hour, the work may seem symphonic, but it is written solely for a cappella choir. Nevertheless, the effect of the sound bath that is created when Schnittke's up to 16-voice towering choral architectures begin to flood the space is comparable to that of an orchestra.
The mixture of professional young singers and accomplished amateurs enables the Young Chamber Choir Basel, founded in 2016, to fearlessly approach challenging choral music from a wide range of epochs and to perform it with a youthful, fresh spirit. So far, works as diverse as Rachmaninoff's Vespers, Bach's motets or, as recently, text fragments by the artist Adolf Wölfli in settings by Per Nørgård and Jonas Marti have been heard.
Participating artists: Junger Kammerchor Basel
Veljo Tormis (1930 - 2017)
Alfred Schnittke (1934 - 1998)
Concerto for choir
Note: This text was translated by machine translation software and not by a human translator. It may contain translation errors.