Winter 2018/19 Concert Review

02/02/2019
Copyright: Andreas Schmitter

Farewell. Magic. Enlightenment. – This was the motto for Collegium Musicum's recent concert performance at Aachen City Hall’s Coronation Hall. More than 750 visitors followed the invitation to see the RWTH ensemble and thus witnessed a very special evening.

 

The triad of themes chosen by conductor Tobias Haussig built a bridge from modern works such as the "4 Shakespeare Songs" to the evening's main work – J. S. Bach's "Magnificat." Right from the beginning, the baroque trumpets of the “Funeral Sentences” put the audience in the perfect frame of mind. The rousing sounds echoing from the background into the historic hall were a fitting introduction to the “Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary” by Henry Purcell. The moving harmonies created a well-nigh referential atmosphere, which was then brought to the next level – bringing enlightenment one could say – by “Alleluia,” composed in the liturgical tradition by Eric Whitacre.

The first of the "4 Shakespeare Songs" began almost cautiously. The song "Come Away Death" picked up the farewell theme again, and the lullaby song "Lullaby" brought back memories of Whitacre's "5 Hebrew Love Songs", which the university choir performed at Coronation Hall last year. The highlight of the first half of the concert was "Double Toil and Trouble", in which the witches from Macbeth prepare a devilish magic potion. The most energetic piece of the evening was also the most modern, as it included elements of chanting and several glissandi. At the end of the piece, which ended with a collective stomping, some listeners had to work hard to contain their excitement, instead giving the next piece,"Full Fathom Five," the deserved attention to loop around to the farewell theme again.

The second half of the concert was devoted to J. S. Bach's "Magnificat". This baroque hymn of praise was performed together with musicians from other Aachen student orchestras (ASO, BPA, Trumpetenforum Aachen e. V.) under the patronage of the Aachen Baroque Orchestra. Among the five talented vocal soloists who had been enlisted to perform, Rodrigo Sosa Dal Pozzo was a standout due to his countertenor vocal range. Due to its complexity and rich variations, Bach’s challenging piece demanded much finesse from choir and orchestra alike. It was precisely the contrast between emotional arias and energetic choral episodes that made this piece particularly appealing to musicians and listeners alike. After its conclusion, the choir took the opportunity to thank the soloists, the orchestral musicians, as well as conductor Tobias Haussig. The ensemble also thanked répétiteur Ahreum Friedrich for bringing her great musicianship skills to the choir rehearsals.

When the choir left the stage, the concert wasn't over yet. Instead of leaving the hall, the musicians spread out between the members of the audience in the historical vault. After a prelude by the orchestra, the singers began the traditional "Evening Rise" song by humming, then expanding the sound image voice for voice until the entire room was polyphonically filled. After the voices faded out in slow decrescendo, the audience remained again in attentive silence, much as they were at the beginning of the evening.

At this point, all of us here at Collegium Musicum want to specifically thank our supporters for allowing us to have such a successful last semester and we are furthermore excited to already invite our audiences to our joint choir and orchestra performance of Carmina Burana this upcoming summer semester. Details are soon to be announced at www.cm.rwth-aachen.de.

 
Soloists
First Soprano Milena Knauß
Second Soprano Laura Lietzmann
Countertenor/Altus Rodrigo Sosa Dal Pozzo
Tenor Maximilian Fieth
Bass Michael Terada