And Gutenberg Lived Here: How Do You Learn To Sing Ancient Chinese?

Sunday night was one of those moments musicians live for.

The concert venue’s atmosphere was perfect:

St Augustine’s:

A gorgeously renovated true baroque of a baroque church

(even if the local fire ordinances insisted the pyramid for lit votive candles,

right next to the ancient filigreed wooden railings,

has to have a smoke hood with exhaust fan that hangs over it

a bit like the one  over the grill of a large Argentinian steak house)

At least it was modern and tasteful.

The church, not the steak house.

Anyway, so this beautiful Augustinan Seminar church,

originally built for the Order of hermits of St Augustine,

(better pictures on wikipedia than I could shoot)

right near the main cathedral,

and only a short walk from all the templer order churches,

was last night the home of what serious vocal music lovers dream about:

After many nights of freezing in modern churches with flat sound or no atmosphere,

in this perfect perfect church was:

Singer Pur-

a sextett-

make that a singers’ dream sextett,

one female soprano,

five males-

(THREE Tenors- be still my heart- baritone, bass)

correct dignified concert black

and some of the best voices anywhere.

From Palestrina to Schutz to Bach, Brahms, and Richard Strauss,

from ancient Chinese-

sung in ancient Chinese-

to the American folk song Shenandoah,

in correct Engslish, of course,

they wowed the audience.

Who found it hard not to clap between linked pieces.

And to sing along to Sting and Billy Joel.

And most in their own arrangements.

German readers: it will be broadcast on SWR on the 11 of Feb next year.

Sad was only that the church was so small.

(And the organ gallery off limits due to a historical Stumm organ)

And perhaps also that the church was the right size for the number of those willing to show up.

Which was reflected in the fact that:

on the home we were stopped and asked,

by a very young and friendly team of police,

to take part in a drug and alcohol control inspection.

When they saw our clothes, and heard that we had been at a Singer Pur concert,

“church concert?”


and we were waved through.

And the best part was that,

on the way home,

I suddenly remembered.

The policewoman in the team had sung for a couple of weeks in the police choir I conducted

before she was transferred to Frankfurt

for further training.

Voices reaching out to voices.

Hey, you never know when a singer is going to cross your path.

copyright 2016

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s