21 May at The Sava Center

21 May at The Sava Center

Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695)
Come Ye Sons of Art
Text ascribed to Nahum Tate (1652 - 1715
Opening chorus from the Ode for the birthday of Queen Mary II (1694) Z 323

Henry Purcell was a chorister with the Chapel Royal. After his voice changed, he held a number of musical posts at the court, including organ maker and keeper of the king’s instruments, composer-in-ordinary for the king’s violins and organist of Westminster Abbey, and of the Chapel Royal. During his lifetime, he served three consecutive kings of England: Charles II, James II and William III.

It was part of Purcell’s duties to compose works for royal occasions, coronations, weddings, birthdays and funerals. Come Ye Sons of Art is the last of six birthday odes composed for Queen Mary II, who loved music. Come Ye Sons was written for the popular Queen’s 30th birthday on 30 April 1694; her last, as it turned out.

The text, probably by Nahum Tate who was Poet Laureate to the Court at the time, is flowery and highly complimentary of the Queen, although it leaves something to be desired for poetic merit.

Come, come, ye sons of Art, come, come a way.
Tune all your voices and instruments play,
to celebrate this triumphant day.

Thomas Weelkes (c. 1576 - 1623)
The Nightingale
from Ayres or Phantasticke Spirites for three voices, no. 25 (1608)
Madrigal for three voices

Thomas Weelkes is known both for his madrigals and his church music. He was a highly talented composer; employed first as an organist in Winchester College, then gaining a BMus from New College, Oxford. Around 1601, he was appointed organist and master of the choristers at Chichester Cathedral. He appears to have entertained hopes of receiving a court appointment, but instead remained in Chichester. From 1609 on, Weelkes was continuously in trouble; he acquired quite a reputation as a drunkard and a blasphemer, which ultimately led to his dismissal.

Madrigals are secular compositions for two or more voices; they are a kind of vocal chamber music. The word is thought to have been derived from mandriali (a short pastoral poem) or from matricale (a rustic poem in the local vernacular, rather than Latin), or perhaps madriale (a hymn to the Virgin Mary).
The form originated in Italy in the 14th century and later became popular in England, France, Germany and Spain. English madrigalists use popular contemporary poems that deal with everyday life or nature. Very often the voices are used to imitate sounds described in the text; The Nightingale is a clear example.

The nightingale, the organ of delight
the nimble lark, the blacke bird, and the thrush,
and all the pretty choristers of flight,
that chant their musicke notes in every bush,
Let them no more contend who shall excell,
the cuckoo is the bird that bears the bell.

Benjamin Britten (1913 - 1976)
from: Missa brevis in D, opus 63 (1959)

Britten’s Mass in D, opus 63, is a short setting of the Ordinary without the Creed; the text is Latin. It was written for the choristers of Westminster Cathedral Choir. Britten treated the boys’ voices much as an reedy wind instrument, and introduced everyday noises into the composition. The overall sound is cheerful, almost jaunty, certainly in the Gloria which is dominated by D major.

Gloria in excelsis Deo et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis.
Laudamus te. Benedicimus te. Adoramus te. Glorificamus te.
Gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam.
Domine Deus, Rex coelestis, Deus Pater omnipotens.
Domine Fili unigenite Jesu Christe,
Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Quoniam tu solus sanctus, tu solus Dominus, tu solus altissimus, Jesu Christe,
cum sanctu spiritu in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.

Francis Poulenc (1899 - 1963)
Ave verum corpus (Hail, true body) FP 154 (1952)
Three-part motet for women’s or children’s choir

Francis Poulenc was born in Paris. He never had any formal lessons in music: His mother taught him to play the piano, and he was an outstanding pianist.

Poulenc composed sacred music, songs, chamber music, music for ballets and orchestral music. His music is warm, melodious and simple in the best sense of that word. There are no pretenses, Poulenc’s music describes and marvels at the strange quirks of humanity. Poulenc was an eccentric, with ties to the Dada movement, Eric Satie and Jean Cocteau. The death of a close friend in 1936, prompted a rediscovery of the Catholic faith, and he started to write sacred music. In 1950, journalist Claude Rostand described him as a cross between a monk and a bad boy (“le moine et le voyou”). Poulenc died of heart failure in Paris in 1963.

The well-known standard text of the Ave verum, attributed to Pope Innocent VI (died 1342), is a prayer for the Feast of Corpus Christi which was introduced by Pope Urban IV in 1264. There are a number of slight variants which occurred over time. During the Middle Ages, it would have been sung at the elevation of the Host during consecration. In just a few lines, it covers the Incarnation, the Passion, the Eucharist and the Last Judgement. Poulenc leaves out the last two lines of the commonly known text, and instead, repeats the invocation of the body of Christ.

Ave verum corpus Christi natum ex Maria Virgine.
vere passum immolatum in cruce pro homine:
Ave verum corpus Christi natum ex Maria Virgine.

Hail, true body of Christ, born of the Virgin Mary,
who has truly suffered, defiled on the cross for mankind.
Hail, true body of Christ, born of the Virgin Mary.

Gabriel-Urbain Fauré (1845 – 1924)
Pie Jesu (Good Jesus)
from: Requiem in d minor, opus 48 (1887/1890)

Fauré was born in the Pyrenees as youngest of six children. His musical talent was recognised early on. From the age of nine until the age of twenty, Fauré trained as organist and choirmaster at the Ecole Niedermeyer in Paris. After the French revolution, church music in France was considered unimportant; the Ecole sought to reverse the trend. In 1861, Camille Saint-Saёns became Fauré’s teacher. Fauré was employed as a church musician in Rennes, 1866 – 1870, at St. Sulpice in Paris, 1871 – 1873 and, from 1874, at the Madeleine. In 1896, Fauré became the Madeleine’s chief organist and professor at the Paris conservatoire. Ravel, Enescu and Nadia Boulanger were among his pupils. From 1905 to 1920, he was director of the conservatoire. By this time, Fauré was famous, and his works enjoyed tremendous success. He is regarded as the master of French song; he produced six cycles and three collections of songs. He also wrote chamber music, his favourite instrument was the piano. Fauré, whose music is simply emotional, was one of the earliest Western composers to use the whole-tone scale.

The deceptively simple Requiem, written between 1887 and 1890, remains popular to this day, particularly the Pie Jesu. After years of accompanying burial services on the organ, Fauré had wanted to write “something different” from the dreary dirges that were considered appropriate for such occasions. He certainly succeeded.
Initially, he put together a petit requiem which included five movements and was first performed in January 1888 in La Madeleine in Paris. Later, Fauré wrote a version for chamber orchestra; he added the Hostias and Libera me, which he had written as an independent work in 1877. Finally, in 1899, the composer reworked the Requiem for full orchestra. This version was first performed in April of 1900, and it was played at Fauré’s own funeral in 1924.

Fauré himself said that the Requiem contained “everything I managed to entertain by way of religious illusion”; he felt certain that death was “a happy deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above”, not a painful experience that has to be suffered.

Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem.
Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem sempiternam.

Good Jesus, Lord, give them rest.
Good Jesus, Lord, give them eternal rest.

Claudio Monteverdi (1567 - 1643)
Ave Maria, SV 213
from Sacrae cantiunculae tribus vocibus (1582)
Motet for three-part choir

Monteverdi was born in Cremona, the son of a surgeon. He received his first musical education as a choir boy in Cremona, his teacher was Marc' Antonio Ingegneri. Monteverdi was gifted; he published his first compositions at age 15. In 1590, Monteverdi went to work for the Duke of Gonzaga in Mantua; he stayed for 22 years, writing sacred music, madrigals, and two operas. In 1613, Monteverdi became music director at St. Marc's in Venice.

The Ave Maria is perhaps the most popular of all the Marian prayers. It is composed of two distinct parts, a Scriptural part and an intercessory part. The first part, the Scriptural part, is taken from the Gospel of St. Luke. It is a combination of the Angel Gabriel's Annunciation (Luke 1:28) and Elizabeth’s greeting at the Visitation (Luke 1:42). The joining of these two passages can be found as early as the fifth, and perhaps even the fourth, century in the eastern liturgies of St. James of Antioch and St. Mark of Alexandria. It is also recorded in the ritual of St. Severus (538 AD). It was extremely popular by the 11th century;   as shown by the writings of St. Peter Damian (1007 - 1072) and Hermann of Tournai (died c. 1147). Jesus’s name was added later, probably by Pope Urban IV around the year 1262.

The second half of the prayer, Holy Mary, can be traced back to the 15th century; at that time, two variants are in use. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, is found in the writings of St. Bernardine of Siena (1380 - 1444) and in Carthusian texts. The phrase Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis nunc et in hora mortis nostrae, is found in the writings of the Servites. The current form of the prayer became standard sometime in the 16th century and was included in the reformed Breviary promulgated by Pope Pius V in 1568.

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord be with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and in the hour of our death. Amen.

Antonio Vivaldi (1678 – 1741)
from: Gloria in D, RV 589

The „Gloria“ is part of the Mass ordinary; the words date to the early Middle Ages. Vivaldi wrote at least three settings, of which two survive. RV 589 is a hugely popular piece: There are over 100 recordings of it (including one by the Vienna Boys Choir), and it has been used to great effect in several films, “Shine” (Scott Hicks 1996), “The Hunter” (2011), and “Songs along the Silk Road”, Curt Faudon’s 2008 film about the Vienna Boys Choir.

Antonio Vivaldi wrote his Glorias around 1715 for the orphans at the Pio Ospedale della Pietà where he was employed as a music teacher and composer. The Ospedale was initally founded as a hostel for Crusaders. After the Crusades, it changed into a charity for orphans and abandoned girls. Unwanted infants could be left at the scaffetta, an early form of baby hatch. There were four ospedali in Venice, their purpose was to provide for abandoned and orphaned children. Boys were taught a trade, and girls were given a formal musical education. All four ospedali had choirs, all four competed with each other, trying to hire the best musicians in Venice. During the seventeenth century, the Ospedale della Pietà in particular became famous for its girls’ choir and sixty-strong all-girl orchestra. Vivaldi joined the Ospedale’s staff in 1703 as a young priest. His health was so poor that he was given a dispensation from celebrating Mass; and he was unable to play wind instruments. But he was known as a violin virtuoso, and had extensive musical knowledge. Vivaldi taught violin and music theory and composed as maestro di coro for his charges – he wrote motets, choral works, and later concerti. Under his direction, the girls’ choir and orchestra became more famous then ever.

The girls played behind a screen to aristocratic audiences. Tourists flocked to Venice to hear them perform: In 1770, long after Vivaldi’s death, Jean-Jacques Rousseau attended a concert. He described the experience in his Confessions; the playing behind a screen, the beauty and impact of the music, the layout of the buildings, and finally meeting the musicians.

Gloria in excelsis Deo

Glory be to God on high

Giuseppe Verdi (1813 – 1901)
Va', pensiero, sull'ali dorate (Fly, thought, on wings of gold)
Text: Temistocle Solera (1815 – 1878)
Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves from the opera Nabucco (1842)

“Va’, pensiero” has a text inspired by the Biblical psalm 137, sung by the exiled Jews in Babylon during the reign of King Nebukadnezzar II (634 – 532 BC); Nabucco or rather Nabucodonosor in Italian. The psalm – well-known as “By the rivers of Babylon” - gives voice to the pain of a deported people, its yearning for home, and the inability to express oneself publicly in captivity, illustrated by the image of hanging harps in trees, weeping willows, no less.

Verdi wrote his opera at a difficult and painful time; his wife and children had just died. The director of La Scala more or less forced the libretto on Verdi. Legend has it that Verdi happened to open the libretto at “Va’, pensiero”. During the first rehearsal, the stagehands shouted their approval, banging their tools in support: Everyone could relate to the powerful music and text. At Verdi’s funereal cortege in Milan, passers-by burst into an impromptu version of “Va’, pensiero”, and when Verdi was buried a month later, Arturo Toscanini conducted an 800-strong emotional chorus.

Va', pensiero, sull'ali dorate.
Va', ti posa sui clivi, sui colli,
ove olezzano tepide e molli
l'aure dolci del suolo natal!

Del Giordano le rive saluta,
di Sionne le torri atterrate.
O mia Patria, sì bella e perduta!
O membranza sì cara e fatal!

Arpa d'or dei fatidici vati,
perché muta dal salice pendi?
Le memorie nel petto riaccendi,
ci favella del tempo che fu!

O simile di Solima ai fati,
traggi un suono di crudo lamento;
o t'ispiri il Signore un concento
che ne infonda al patire virtù!

Fly, thought, on wings of gold,
go and rest on the slopes and hills
where, warm and mild,
the sweet airs of our native land waft.

Greet the banks of Jordan,
and the fallen towers of Zion.
Oh, my country, so beautiful and lost,
memories, so dear and fateful.

Golden harp of our seeing prophets,
why do you hang silently on the willow?
Light up the memories in our hearts,
tell us of times past.

And like Jerusalem
lament loudly;
may the Lord inspire you with music
to endure the suffering.

Lamma bada yatathanna (As she begins to dance)
Medieval muwashshah song
Arr. Bomi Kim

Lamma Bada is an ancient Arabic love song, a so-called muwashshah from Al-Andalus, Andalusia in Moorish Spain.

The term muwashshah, which in Classical Arabic means girdled, refers to a form of poem and a form of secular song. The songs use muwashshah poems, which usually consits of five stanzas and a refrain or chorus with a running rhyme.

Lamma bada yatathanna - aman' aman' aman' aman
Hubbi jamalouk al fatah
Amara ma bilahdatin assarna
Ghahsoun thaana heyna mala
Waadi way a hirati
Man li nasi shak wati
Fil houbbi min lawaati
Illa malik oul jamal - aman' aman' aman' aman
Lamma bada yatathanna

As she begins to dance,
my beloved, her beauty entrances me.
She commands me with a look, a wink,
Her beauty is like a branch, swaying gracefully in the breeze.
The one, to whom I am promised and who confuses me.
Will she listen to my complaint?
Who can understand my lament of love’s pains,
if not the queen of beauty.
My beloved, her beauty entrances me.

Excursion to VIENNA
Johann Strauss II (1825 – 1899)
Tausend und eine Nacht (Arabian Nights)
Waltz, opus 346
Text: Ewald Seifert; Arr. Uwe Theimer

Tausend und eine Nacht is a waltz from Strauss’s operetta Indigo and the Forty Thieves, based on the classic ‘Arabian Nights‘. The piece premiered in February 1871 in Vienna and received mixed reviews; the audience loved it, but the press was divided. Between 1875 and 1906, ‘Indigo‘ was produced under a variety of titles in Paris, London and in Vienna.

Im Zauberland des Orient,
da werden Märchen erzählt.
Sheherezade alle kennt,
kein Geheimnis darin fehlt.

Offenbar wird eine Macht,
wird dieses Buch aufgemacht.
Musik erklinge weit
In alle, alle Welt.

Was kann’s Schönres geben,
mit Musik zu leben,
und beim Spiel der Geigen
Wiener Charme zu zeigen,
schöne Weisen lieben,
sich im Walzer wiegen
wie im Märchen Tausend und eine Nacht.

Kommt und tanzt mit,
wo’s Musik gibt,
lass die Sorgen
bis auf Morgen.
Froh und heiter
So geht’ weiter
Vieles wird dann anders sein.

Ein Walzer von Strauss
Hat schon vieles gemacht,
hat Mädchen und Buben
zusammen gebracht.

Kommt, tanzt und dreht fein,
so schön kann ein Walzer nur sein.
Der Zauber der herrlichen Walzermusik
Verleiht uns im Leben das Schönste vom Glück,
die Zaubernacht.

Seht wie die Jugend sich dreht
Im Walzer sich bewegt,
also nur munter getanzt,
tanz, solang du immer kannst.

Diese Melodien,
die man liebt in Wien,
die vertreiben die Sorgen und jedes Leid,
und der Vater spricht
von der Jugend Pflicht
immer lustig und fröhlich zu sein.
Und so hat oft der Walzer zwei Menschen vereint,
das Märchen aus tausend und einer Nacht,
es hat zwei Herzen glücklich gemacht.

In the magical lands of the East
They tell fairy tales.
Sheherezade knows them all,
She does not miss a mystery.

A power becomes apparent
As soon as the book is opened.
May music sound
In all the world.

What could be better
Than to live surrounded by music
And to show Viennese charm
At the sound of the violin.
To love beautiful melodies
And to dance the waltz
As in a tale out of Arabian Nights.

Come and dance
Where there is music
Leave your worries
Until tomorrow,
Happy and full of cheer,
Life goes on,
And things will look different in the morrow.

A waltz by Strauss
Has caused many things
It threw together
Girls and boys.

Come, dance and pivot,
Only a waltz could be this charming.
The magic of waltz music
Gives us the best part of happiness,
A magical night.

See, how youth turns about,
Waltzing along.
So go on dancing,
Dance as long as you can.

These melodies,
Much loved in Vienna,
They chase away worries and pain.
And Father speaks
Of youth’s duty
To always be merry and happy.
And thus the waltz brought two people together
The tale from Arabian Nights
Has made two people happy.

Franz Schubert (1797 - 1828)
Der 23. Psalm - Gott ist mein Hirt (Psalm 23 – The Lord Is My Shepherd)
Opus 132 D 706 (1820)
Text: Biblical

Franz Peter Schubert was born in Lichtenthal (now a district of Vienna) in 1797. His father, a teacher, gave him violin and piano lessons. In 1808, 11-year-old Schubert auditioned for the imperial court choir and was given one of two places in the choir – this makes him one of the most famous alumni of the Vienna Boys’ Choir. Antonio Salieri, who was head of the Chapel at the time, became his teacher. Schubert loved the music; he did well at the choir school and wrote his first compositions there, but he complained about the food, or the lack thereof. He wrote to his brother Ferdinand, begging for an apple or money, because “it is hard to subsist on gruel and to wait for hours from one paltry meal to the next”.

In spite of his enormous talent Schubert was never able to live off his music; he had to eke out a meagre living from teaching. First he worked as an assistant teacher at his father’s school, later he taught music at the Hungarian estate of Count Esterházy.

Schubert wrote eight symphonies, six masses and chamber music. He is most famous for his lieder, he wrote more than six hundred songs on poems by Goethe, Heine, Shakespeare and others. Schubert died at the age of 31, possibly of syphilis, or of the supposed treatment for the illness.

The 23rd psalm bears the title “The good shepherd”, it is one of the most popular psalms of King David. The good (and just) shepherd is an epithet used for gods (and kings) throughout the Ancient Near East. It was duty of the king or the city deity to provide for the people and keep them from harm, in the same way in which a shepherd looks after his flock: I shall not want. The last two verses describe a festive banquet, in fact the ultimate - funereal -  banquet, and God himself anoints the believer – a gesture of hospitality extended in the Near East.

Schubert wrote this piece for Anna Fröhlich and her pupils in December of 1820. The poetic translation sung today is by philosopher Moses Mendelssohn (1729 – 1786), Felix Mendelssohn’s grandfather.

Gott ist mein Hirt, mir wird nichts mangeln
Er weidet mich auf grüner Aue,
Er führet mich zum frischen Wasser,
Sein Wort erquicket meine Seele.
Er führet mich auf rechter Straße
Um seines Namens willen.

Und wall' ich auch im Todesschattentale,
so fürchte ich kein Unglück,
denn Du bist bei mir.
Dein Stab und Deine Stütze
Sind mir immerdar mein Trost.

Du richtest mir ein Freudenmahl
Im Angesicht der Feinde zu,
Du salbst mein Haupt mit Öle
Und schenkst mir volle Becher ein.

Mir folget Heil und Seligkeit
In diesem Leben nach,
Einst ruh' ich ew'ge Zeit
Dort in des Ew'gen Haus.

God is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my aching soul,
He leads me on the right path
To honour his name.

And though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil:
For you watch over me.
Your rod and your staff
Comfort me always.

You prepare a banquet for me
Before my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil
And fill my cup to the brim.

Goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life.
And I shall dwell forever
In the House of the eternal God.

Johann Strauss II (1825 - 1899)
Vergnügungszug (Pleasure Train)
Polka, opus 281
Text: Ewald Seifert; Arr. Helmuth Froschauer

‘Vergnügungszug’ is a typical Strauss polka painting a picture of contemporary life: It was a favourite Sunday pastime in the nineteenth century to explore a city’s surroundings by steam train; the ride, not the destination was the point of the exercise. Vergnügungszug (literally ‘pleasure’ or ‘amusement train’), a cheerful polka, tells the story of such an outing, complete with pushing and shoving to get on to the train, sandwiches, rabbits on the tracks, bird-calls and train whistles.

Bitte Leute eingestiegen
Jeder soll ein’n Sitzplatz kriegen
Heute geht’s hinaus ins Grüne
Tante, Onkel und Cousine
Vater, Mutter und die Kinder
Alle fahren mit:
Dritte Klass, ist a Spaß,
harte Plätz’, um die geht’s.
Hauptsach’ ist, mir haben an Sitz
Denn um die ist das größte Griss.

Gleich wird’s losgehen,
denn der Schaffner gibt’s Signal
und wir kommen hin auf jeden Fall.
Erst geht’s langsam, aber kurz nur,
dann geht’s an, dann kommt ein kurzer Pfiff,
das ist die Lokomotiv!
Der Dampf wird immer dichter
Und schwarz die Gesichter
Im Vergnügungszug.

Vater, was ist des dort für an Dom,
fragt begierig jetzt der kleine Sohn.
Doch der Vater weiß das nicht so schnell,
gibt dem Bub a Wurstbrot auf der Stell.
Aber damit gibt er noch ka Ruh,
macht das Fenster immer auf und zu.
Das tut den Herrn Vater furchtbar ratzn,
kurzerhand gibt er dem Buben a Watschn.
Die ist gsessen, wie angemessen
Und der Bua reibt sich die Wangen.
Ja, wie kann man denn nur gleich schlagen,
tut die Mutter voll Mitleid sagen.
Wein net, hörst du, gib Ruah,
schau jetzt beim Fenster hinaus.
Jetzt muss der Schaffner blasn
Auf den Schienen, da sitzen Hasen.
Langsam hoppeln die zwei davon
Schaun vom Gebüsch auf den schnellen Überraschungszug.

Bitte Leute eingestiegen . . .

Everybody board the train,
Everyone shall have a seat
Today we are headed for the countryside:
Aunty, Uncle, and our cousin,
Father, Mother, and the children
Everyone aboard:
Third class, great fun!
Hard seats, you have to fight for them.
Main thing, we get a seat
They are really in demand.

There! We are about to leave,
The conductor gives the signal,
We’ll arrive anyroad.
First slowly, but only briefly,
Then we pick up speed, a whistle blows,
That is our engine!
The steam thickens
And blackens the faces
Aboard the pleasure train.

Father, what’s that cathedral over there,
The little boy wants to know.
But father doesn’t know this off the top of his head
And gives the boy a sandwich.
But the boy won’t keep still,
He opens and shuts the window.
This annoys his Father,
And he boxes his ears.
That hurts, as intended,
And the boy rubs his cheek.
How can you lash out like that,
Mothers says, with feeling.
Don’t cry, do you hear, be quiet
And look out of the window.
Now the conductor blows his whistle:
There are two rabbits on the tracks.
They hop off eventually
To watch the fast train from the bushes.

Everybody board the train . . .


2nd PART

Josef Strauss (1827 - 1870)
Matrosenpolka (Sailors' Polka), opus 52
Text: Tina Breckwoldt; Arr. Gerald Wirth

Josef Strauss was the younger brother of the waltz king. He did not see himself as a musician: Josef was an engineer, and quite happy in his profession. He invented a street cleaning machine for the Viennese magistrate. In 1853, his brother Johann suffered a nervous breakdown, and the entire family begged Josef to step in for his brother: the family depended on the concerts for their livelihood. Josef, who hated being the centre of attention, finally gave in and conducted the Strauss Kapelle whenever his brother was unable to do so.

“Matrosenpolka” was selected for the 2015 Tour of Japan, and will receive its first performances there. The text is a fragmentary radio call from a square rigger named “Delfin” (dolphin); the expression “pan-pan” begins an urgent call, which tells anyone listening there may be a problem aboard a ship; “da” and “dit” represent short and long tones in Morse code.

Pan, pan, ein Funkspruch
Auszug aus dem Logbuch
vom Gespräch nur Fetzen,
da - Segel setzen
da - Nebelschwaden
dit - Maschinenschaden
Eine neue Mannschaft segelt diesmal die Delfin

daher wäre wichtig,
man verstünde richtig:
pan - sei versandet
und sie sind gestrandet
da - auf der Brücke
dit - mit Mut zur Lücke
pan, um Haaresbreite schrammen sie am Kai vorbei.

Ho, pan pan, ho, ho, pan pan, ho, pan, zieht fest an.
Yo heave ho, yo heave ho.

Segel voller Löcher
dit - an Deck die Brecher
da - Schoten fieren,
Pan - reparieren,
Wund an den Händen:
wie soll das nur enden?
Das vermaledeite Tauwerk will nicht, wie ich will.

Das Schiff zieht schnell, da kommt ein Wind,
Drängt jäh heran, türmt sich auf zum Sturm.

Nunmehr muss man Schotten dichten,
neben allen andern Pflichten
klappt man auch die Luken zu.

Die Matrosen müssen laufen,
und aus einem wilden Haufen
wird auf einmal eine Crew.

Pan, pan, ein Funkspruch
Auszug aus dem Logbuch
vom Gespräch nur Fetzen,
da - Segel setzen
da – Nebelschwaden
dit – Maschinenschaden
Was ist denn nur los an Bord der Viermastbark "Delfin"?

Ho, pan pan, ho, ho, pan pan, ho, pan, zieht fest an.
Yo heave ho, yo heave ho.

Pan, wir fahren wieder
singen Seemannslieder
Mit geflickten Segeln
gelten neue Regeln
da, es kommt Wind auf,
dit, wir nehmen Fahrt auf
Und wir segeln schnurstracks auf den sichern Hafen zu.

In Sicherheit, in Sicherheit, ist die ganze Crew.

Pan, pan, a radio call,
taken from the ship's log,
merely snippets of speech,
da – hoist sails,
da – dense fog
dit – engine trouble
New seamen are sailing the ship “Delfin”.

It would therefore be important
to understand correctly:
pan – something is sandlogged
and they are stranded
da – on the bridge
dit – not afraid of narrow straits
pan – they manage only just to scrape past the quai.

Ho, pan pan, ho, ho, pan pan, ho, pan, pull on the ropes.
Yo heave ho, yo heave ho.

Sails riddled with holes
dit – waves crashing on deck
da – slacken the sheet ropes
pan – necessary repairs
how will this end?
The godawful hawsers keep getting tangled up.

The ship flies fast, wind springs up,
a sudden gust turns into storm.
Now we have to batten hatches
besides all other duties
we must close the port holes.
The sailors have to hurry,
and a crazy mob
turns suddenly into a proper crew.

Pan, pan, a radio call,
part of the ship's log,
merely snippets,
da – hoist sails,
da – dense fog
dit – engine trouble
What is going on aboard the square rigger “Delfin”?

Ho, pan pan, ho, ho, pan pan, ho, pan, pull on the ropes.
Yo heave ho, yo heave ho.

Pan – we are sailing,
singing shanties
with freshly patched sails
new rules apply
da – wind springs up,
dit – we are gaining speed,
making straight for safe harbour.

Safe, the entire crew is safe.

Amir Khusro Dahlavi (1253 – 1325)
Man kunto maula (To whom I am master)
Qawwali; Arr. Gerald Wirth

A qawwali (from Arabic *qaul “word, utterance”) is a devotional song in the Sufi tradition. Sufis are mystics; the movement started in the early Umayyad period (661 – 750 AD). Adherents of sufism seek a direct and personal experience of God. Qawwali performances may last for hours or even days and can induce a state of ecstasy; the singers are accompanied by drums, harmonium, background chorus, and rhythmic clapping – the audience is invited to clap along. The term sufi might be derived from the Arabic word for wool, possibly because early Islamic ascetics wore woollen garments.

Amir Khusro, the son of an Indian woman and a mercenary from Asia minor, was born in the Punjab and grew up in Delhi. At the age of eight, he became a student of the Sufi saint Niẓām ad-Dīn Auliya (1238 – 1325). Amir Khusro, known as „Sultan of Hearts“, spoke Farsi, Urdu, and Hindi; most of his writings are in Farsi. Amir was a musician as well: He is credited with the introduction of the sitar and with the invention of the qawwali. His tomb in India remains a pilgrim site.

’Alī ibn Abī Tālib (598 – 661) was a cousin of Muhammad, the first to follow the prophet. According to tradition, he was born in the kaaba in Mekka. His name was supposed to be Asad or Haydar; both mean „lion“. Muhammad renamed him Ali, „the exalted one“. Ali was the fourth caliph, and he is considered to be very wise. Muhammad is quoted as having said, „I am the city of knowledge, and Ali is its gate. Who wants to reach me, must pass through Ali.“ Ali‘s followers became the Shia of Ali. Zulfiqar (properly Dhu l-faqar) is the name of Muhammad‘s sword.

Man kunto maula is considered the oldest qawwali; it is known and sung throughout the orient. Its text is based on a hadith, a saying of Muhammad: „Who accepts me as master, Ali is his master too.“

Shah-e-mardaan, Shair-e-yazdaan, quwwat-e-parvardigaar,
la fata illa Ali, la saif illa Zulfiqar
Man kunto maula khwaja Ali-un maula

dara dil-e dara dil-e dar-e-dani
tum tum tanana naanaa, tana nana re
yalali yalali yala, yala re
Maula Ali Maula Maula Ali Maula

Ali Shaah-e MardaaN, Imaam-ul-Kabiira
ke ba’d az Nabii shud Bashiir-un-Naziira

King of the brave, lion of God, strength of God.
There is no one like Ali, and no sword is like Zulfiqar.
To whom I am master, the honorable Ali is his master too.

Come into the heart, enter the heart,
melt within, you and I,
sing sweet melodies therein.
Ali is master, master is he.

Ali is king among men, a great spiritual leader,
according to the prophet, he became a messenger of good tidings and one who admonishes people.

Shouxin “Er“ Nie (George Njai, 1912 - 1935)
Mai bao ge (Paper Boy, 1933)
Text: An E (1905 - 1976); Arr. Gerald Wirth

Mai bao ge, Paper boy, is based on the true story of a ten-year-old paper girl named Xiao Mao Tou. Xiao Mao Tou was poor, and malnourished; she often felt faint and sick with hunger. One day, a bus stopped, and as people rushed and thronged to get off and on, Xiao Mao Tou was pushed and fell, hurting her head. Her newspapers were scattered, and people trampled blindly over her. She cried; and as she cried, a man came to help her up. He then helped gather the papers: They were ruined. The man felt Xiao Mao Tou’s utter despair and decided to buy all of her papers. It was Shouxin Nie, who was already a famous composer. The event caused him to write the song – he injected the composition with warmth and humor, with happiness and hope, and “Mai bao ge” went on to become one of the best known and loved songs in China.

Sōran bushi (When I hear the seagulls squawking)
Japanese sea shanty from Hokkaido
Arr. Gerald Wirth

This is a work shanty, a “min’yo”, originally sung by fishermen from Hokkaido, which is famous for its herring. The exclamations “sōran” and “dokkoisho” were used to encourage the men and make the physical work easier by introducing a rhythm, or work pulse; in the same way, “heave-ho”, “yo ho”, or “way, haul away” were used in European and American shanties to facilitate the different kinds of work on a ship. Soran bushi was probably sung when the fishermen transferred their haul from the large drift net into hand nets. As with all work songs, there are countless variations of the lyrics, and additional lyrics were made up on the spot.

Yāren sōran sōran . . .
(hai hai!)
Oki de kamome no naku koe kikeba
Funanori kagyō wa yamerarenu choi

Yasa e en ya sa dokkoisho
(a dokkoisho, dokkoisho!)

Yāren sōran . . .
Oyaji tairyō da mukashi to chigau
toreta nishin wa ore no mono choi

Yāren sōran . . .
Gyoba no aneko wa oshiroi iranu wa
Gin no uroko de hada hikaru yo, choi

Yāren sōran . . .
Otoko dokyo nara goshaku no karada
Don to noridase nami no ue choi

Oh, soran, soran . . .
(yes, yes!)
When I hear the seagulls squawking on the high seas,
I know I cannot give up my life as a fisherman .

Put your backs into it! Heave, ho!
(Heave, ho! Heave, ho!)

Oh, soran, soran . . .
Captain, let me tell you, this catch of herring
is bigger than all the others. And it is all mine.

Oh, soran, soran . . .
The girls in our fishing grounds do not need powder on their face,
the silver scales of the fish make them beautiful and shiny.

Oh, soran, soran . . .
If you are brave, it does not matter how tall you are
Sail out on the ocean with your body held forward

George Gershwin (1898 - 1937)
I Got Rhythm
Text: Ira Gershwin (1896 - 1983)
from the musical “Girl Crazy” (1930)

I Got Rhythm is without doubt the most popular song from the musical Girl Crazy; it has been covered countless times. Its chord progression is the basis for many jazz tunes. The tune was originally intended for a slower song in the 1928 musical “Treasure Girl”, but neither the song nor the musical fared particularly well. George wrote the tune first and then gave it to Ira to find words for it – on this occasion, Ira found it more difficult than usual.

When the musical opened on Broadway and the song had its premiere, singer Ethel Merman was accompanied by a jazz orchestra that included Benny Goodman, Jimmy Dorsey and Glenn Miller.

Days can be sunny with never a sigh;
Don’t need what money can buy.
Birds in the tree sing their dayful of song,
Why shouldn’t we sing along?
I’m chipper all the day,
Happy with my lot.
How do I get that way?
Look at what I’ve got:

I got rhythm
I got music
I got my girl
Who could ask for anything more?

I got daisies
In green pastures,
I got my girl
Who could ask for anything more?

Ol’ Man Trouble,
I don’t mind him.
You won’t find him
Round my door.

I got starlight,
I got sweet dreams,
I got my girl,
Who could ask for anything more?

Kainawad Naad (Song of the Spirit Dance)
Song of the Arapaho Nation
Arr. Gerald Wirth

The Arapaho are a nomadic plains tribe who depended almost exclusively on the buffalo hunt for survival; the followed the animals’ trails and lived in tipis which could be erected within the hour by two people. Their main allies were the Cheyenne, and although they did engage in war with other tribes, they tended to avoid conflict with the white settlers.

The song, arranged by Gerald Wirth, is part of the Arapahos’ most famous ritual, the Sun Dance. The dancers would stare into the sun for hours; this, plus the infliction of physical pain would induce a state of trance in which the participants in the ritual would be rewarded with visions.

Kainawad Naad, sung by Hanacha-thiak (Sitting Buffalo Bull) and written down by Natalie Curtis in 1907, is a calm song describing such a vision; the singer passes through the yellow “Turtle waters”. Once upon a time, the Turtle dived to the bottom of the waters, bringing back clay out of which the world was created.

Nanai baeno nidjieh-hi

Wading passed I through
yellow waters
Ah, it was even, even the Turtle Lake
yellow waters.

Amazing Grace
Music: Early American tune
Text: John Newton (1725 - 1807)

John Newton’s biography does not immediately suggest a writer of religious texts. He undertook his first sea voyage at age eleven, at eighteen, he was pressed into service on a British man-of-war. He deserted, was caught, flogged and demoted; he finally wound up aboard a slave ship. Life was not pleasant, and Newton started to read and teach himself Latin. In 1748, Newton’s ship was caught in a violent storm, the outward reason for his conversion. In 1755, Newton left the sea and took up religion. He met Methodists and Calvinists. He learnt Greek and Hebrew and finally managed to become a minister. He accepted the curacy of Olney, Buckinghamshire. Newton must have been a captivating preacher; his church had to be enlarged to accommodate the crowds.
Amazing Grace was written between 1769 and 1770, probably for a service. Newton published it in 1779, under the title Faith’s Review and Expectation, making reference to First Chronicles 17:16f. The song’s first verse also recalls John 9:25. A second edition followed in 1807.

The music is Early American; it has been speculated that the melody was first sung by slaves.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found
was blind but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
and grace my fear relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
the hour I first believed.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise,
then when we first begun.

Richard M. Sherman (*1928) and Robert B. Sherman (1925 – 2012)
Medley from the motion picture Mary Poppins (1964)
-Chim Chim Cher-ee  (Arr. Harry Simeone)
-Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (Arr. Christi Cary Miller)
-A Spoonful of Sugar (Arr. Harry Simeone)

Brothers Richard and Robert Sherman began writing rock and roll in the 1950s, and started working for the Disney studios in the 1960s. They wrote scores for more than 20 successful films; quite a few of them for Disney. In 1964, they won an Oscar and a Grammy for the music for “Mary Poppins”.

Chim Chim Cher-ee was originally sung in the movie by Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. It is the theme music of Van Dyke’s screen character Bert, Mary Poppins’s friend, who is a chimney sweep. Sweeps were and are considered lucky.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is a word invented by the brothers Sherman, and it is a clear expression of delighted praise, which at the same time pokes fun at complicated polysyllabic words. The Shermans may have subconsciously inspired by Gloria Parker’s and Barney Young’s 1949 “Super Song”, which uses the word “Supercalafajalistickespeealadojus”. Their own term made it into the Oxford English Dictionary in 1986, and it is firmly established in popular culture: a Feghoot pun refers to Mahatma Gandhi as “super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis”.

“A Spoonful of Sugar” is Mary Poppins’s leitmotif in the film. Originally, the producers had a song called “The Eyes of Love” in mind – but Julie Andrews felt it lacked pizzazz, and Disney told the Shermans to come up with something catchy. The task fell to Robert as the primary lyricist. One day, his children had had a polio vaccination, and Robert Sherman asked them if it had hurt – he was thinking of an injection. The children answered that the medicine had been placed on a sugar cube – and with that, the song was born.

Chim Chim Cher-ee
Chim chiminey chim chiminey chim chim cher-ee!
A sweep is as lucky as lucky can be
Chim chiminey chim chiminey chim chim cher-oo!
Good luck will rub off when I shake 'ands with you
Or blow me a kiss and that's lucky too

Now as the ladder of life 'as been strung
You may think a sweep's on the bottommost rung
Though I spends me time in the ashes and smoke
In this 'ole wide world there's no 'appier bloke

Up where the smoke is all billered and curled
'Tween pavement and stars is the chimney sweep world
When the's 'ardly no day nor 'ardly no night
There's things 'alf in shadow and 'alf way in light
On the roof tops of London, coo, what a sight!

I choose me bristles with pride; yes, I do
A broom for the shaft and a broom for the flume
Though I'm covered with soot from me 'ead to me toes
A sweep knows 'e's welcome wherever 'e goes

Chim chiminey chim chiminey chim chim cher-ee!
When you're with a sweep you're in glad company
No where is there a more 'appier crew
Than them wot sings, "Chim chim cher-ee chim cher-oo!"
On the chim chiminey chim chim cher-ee  chim cher-oo

It's supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious
If you say it loud enough, you'll always sound precocious
Um diddle, diddle diddle, um diddle ay

Because I was afraid to speak
When I were just a lad
My father gave me nose a tweak
And told me I was bad

But then one day I learned a word
That saved me achin' nose
The biggest word I ever heard
And this is how it goes, oh

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious . . .

He traveled all around the world
And everywhere he went
He'd use his word and all would say
There goes a clever gent

When Dukes and Maharajahs
Pass the time of day with me
I say me special word
And then they ask me out to tea

Oh, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious . . .

Now, you can say it backwards, which is dociousaliexpilisticfragicalirupus
But that's going a bit too far, don't you think?

So when the cat has got your tongue
There's no need for dismay
Just summon up this word
And then you've got a lot to say

But better use it carefully
Or it could change your life
For example, yes, one night I said it to me girl
And now me girl's my wife, oh, and a lovely thing she's too

She's, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

A Spoonful of Sugar
[Spoken]In ev'ry job that must be done there is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap! the job's a game

[Sung]And ev'ry task you undertake
Becomes a piece of cake
A lark! A spree! It's very clear to see that

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
In a most delightful way

A robin feathering his nest
Has very little time to rest
While gathering his bits of twine and twig
Though quite intent in his pursuit
He has a merry tune to toot
He knows a song will move the job along - for

A spoonful of sugar . . .

The honey bees that fetch the nectar
From the flowers to the comb
Never tire of ever buzzing to and fro
Because they take a little nip
From ev'ry flower that they sip
And hence they find
Their task is not a grind. Ah!
A spoonful of sugar . . .

Danny Boy / Londonderry Air
Irish folk song, ascribed to Rory Dall O’Cahan
Text: Frederick Edward Weatherly (1848 - 1929)
Arr. Gerald Wirth

The tune made its first appearance in print in George Petrie’s (1789 - 1866) Ancient Music of Ireland (1855). Petrie’s source was Jane Ross of Limavady, County Londonderry (hence the name), who claimed to have heard it from an itinerant piper. Both Ross and Petrie thought that the tune was “very old”. As the tune grew in popularity, people began to doubt Ross’s story. There were no additional versions of the melody. The structure of the tune is unlike any other traditional Irish tune, and it is not suited for words in any of the known Irish song meters. Ross was unable to provide any supporting evidence (the name of the piper, for example), and the suspicion grew that she had composed it herself and was trying to pass it off as a genuine Irish tune (although by doing so she would have deprived herself of considerable royalty payments). Ross maintained the truth of her original account.

In the meantime, researchers have speculated that the unknown piper had been using extreme rubato, and this might have disguised the original rhythm and might have led Jane Ross to note the tune in common instead of triple time. If the prolonged notes occurring on the first beat of the bar are shortened, the tune falls at once into a rhythm typical for Irish folk music. Others have drawn attention to the similarity bewteen Londonderry Air and Aislean an Oigfear, a tune published by Edward Bunting (1773 - 1843) in 1796. Bunting had collected it from Denis Hempson (1697 - 1807), a harpist from Magilligan, County Derry, very near Limavady where Jane Ross lived. There is some indication that the tune was composed by Rory Dall O’Cahan (also known as Rory Dall Morison) in the 17th century.

There are more than 100 poems set to Londonderry Air; Thomas Moore (1770 - 1852) wrote My Gentle Harp to the tune. The textof Danny Boy is by Frederick Edward Weatherly, an English lawyer who apprently never set foot in Ireland. He wrote the poem in 1910. He encountered the tune in 1912, and decided to fit them together. His song proved especially popular in the United States. The song is about a poor farming family in Ireland whose only remaining son, Danny, follows in the footsteps of his two older brothers who went to war and never came back. He does not know that his father is seriously ill, and as he leaves, his father’s heart is heavy, because he knows he will probably not see his son again.

O Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer's gone, and all the flowers are dying
'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide.
But come ye back when summer's in the meadow
Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow
'Tis I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow
O Danny boy, o Danny boy, I love you so.

And if you come, when all the flowers are dying
And I am dead, as dead I well may be
You’ll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an Ave there for me.
And I shall hear, tho’ soft you tread above me
And all my dreams will warm and sweeter be
If you'll not fail to tell me that you love me
I’ll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.

The Beatles
Paul McCartney (*1942)
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (1968)
Arr. Andrew Snyder

The song was written by Paul McCartney and credited – as usual – to Lennon-McCartney; it was released in the UK in 1968, on The Beatles’ White Album.
The title “Ob-la-di ob-la-da” goes back to a Yoruba saying, roughly “What will be, will be” or – as in the song itself - “life goes on”. McCartney heard it from Nigerian conga player, Jimmy Scott-Emuakpor.

The name Desmond is a reference to Jamaican ska and reggae performer Desmond
Dekker, and the syncopated rhythm of the song gives it a Caribbean flair.

Desmond has a barrow in the marketplace
Molly is the singer in a band
Desmond says to Molly, "Girl, I like your face"
And Molly says this as she takes him by the hand

Ob-la-di, ob-la-da
Life goes on, bra
La-la, how the life goes on

Desmond takes a trolley to the jeweller's store
Buys a twenty carat golden ring
Takes it back to Molly waiting at the door
And as he gives it to her she begins to sing

Ob-la-di, ob-la-da . . .

In a couple of years
They have built a home sweet home
With a couple of kids running in the yard
Of Desmond and Molly Jones

Happy ever after in the market place
Desmond lets the children lend a hand (arm!) (leg!)
Molly stays at home and does her pretty face
And in the evening she still sings it with the band

Ob-la-di, ob-la-da . . .

In a couple of years
They have built a home sweet home (H-O-M-E)
With a couple of kids running in the yard
Of Desmond and Molly Jones (ha ha ha)

Happy ever after in the market place
Molly lets the children lend a hand (foot!)
Desmond stays at home and does his pretty face
And in the evening she's a singer with the band

Ob-la-di, ob-la-da . . .
And if you want some fun (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha)
Take Ob-la-di-bla-da
(ha ha ha ha)
Ah . . .
Thank you

Johann Strauss II (1825 – 1899)
An der schönen blauen Donau (Blue Danube,1867)
Waltz, opus 314
Text: Franz von Gernerth (1821 – 1900); Arr. Gerald Wirth

Austria’s secret national anthem is dedicated to the Vienna Männergesangsverein (Men’s Chorus); it was first performed in February of 1867 at the chorus’s Carnival Ball. The composer was absent, as he had a court engagement. The original text was slightly silly; it was meant to poke fun at the fact that many carnival balls had been cancelled that year and it ran, ‘Viennese, be joyous! O-ho! Why o?’ This fitted the occasion but did not survive beyond the carnival. There were several attempts at improving the poetry, until Gernerth, a lawyer, wrote his in 1889. His maudlin, flowery, and somewhat patriotic description of the Danube has remained standard until today.

Donau so blau, durch Tal und Au
Wogst ruhig du hin,
Dich grüßt unser Wien,
Dein silbernes Band
Knüpft Land an Land,
Und fröhliche Herzen schlagen
An deinem schönen Strand.

Weit vom Schwarzwald her
eilst du hin zum Meer,
spendest Segen allerwegen,
ostwärts geht dein Lauf,
nimmst viel Brüder auf:
Bild der Einigkeit für alle Zeit.

Alte Burgen seh’n
nieder von den Höh’n,
grüßen gerne dich von ferne,
und der Berge Kranz,
hell vom Morgenglanz
spiegelt sich in deiner Wellen Tanz.

Die Nixen auf dem Grund
Die geben flüsternd kund
Was alles du erschaut
Seitdem über dir der Himmel blaut.

Halt an deine Fluten bei Wien,
es liebt dich ja so sehr,
du findest wohin du magst ziehen
ein zweites Wien nicht mehr.

Du kennst wohl deinen Bruder, den Rhein,
an seinen Ufern wächst herrlicher Wein,


Vienna Boys’ Choir
Boys have been singing at the court in Vienna since the 14th century. In 1498, more than half a millennium ago, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I moved his court and his court musicians to Vienna. He gave instructions that there were to be six singing boys among his musicians; the boys came from different parts of the Holy Roman Empire, from the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, and Austria. Historians have settled on 1498 as the foundation date of the Vienna Chapel Imperial (Hofmusikkapelle) and, in consequence, the Vienna Boys’ Choir. Until 1918, the choir sang exclusively for the imperial court, at mass, concerts and private functions, and on state occasions.
Musicians like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Antonio Salieri, Christoph Willibald Gluck, and Anton Bruckner worked with the choir. Brothers Joseph Haydn and Michael Haydn, members of the choir of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, frequently sang with the imperial boys’ choir.
In 1918, after the breakdown of the Habsburg Empire, the Austrian government took over the court opera, its orchestra and the adult singers, but not the boys’ choir. Josef Schnitt, who became Dean of the Imperial Chapel in 1921, turned the Vienna Boys’ Choir into a private instituion.The former court choir boys became the Wiener Sängerknaben (Vienna Boys’ Choir); the imperial uniform was replaced by the sailor suit, then the height of boys’ fashion. There was not enough money to pay for the boys’ upkeep, and the choir started to give concerts outside of the chapel in 1926, performing motets, secular works, and – at the boys’ request – children’s operas. The impact was amazing. Within a year, the choir performed in Berlin, Prague and Zurich. Athens and Riga (1928) followed, then Spain, France, Denmark, Norway and Sweden (1929), the United States (1932), Australia (1934) and South America (1936). Since 1926, the choir has clocked up close to 1000 tours in 100 different countries.

Today there are 100 choristers from 30 different nations between the ages of ten and fourteen, divided into four touring choirs. Between them, the four choirs give around 300 concerts and performances each year in front of almost half a million people. Each group spends nine to eleven weeks of the school year on tour. They visit virtually all European countries, and they are frequent guests in Asia, Australia and the Americas.
Together with the members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the men of the Vienna State Opera Chorus, the Vienna Boys’ Choir maintains the tradition of the imperial musicians: as Hofmusikkapelle (Chapel Imperial) they provide the music for the Sunday Mass in Vienna’s Imperial Chapel, as they have done since 1498. On January 1st, they performed at the traditional New Year concert in Vienna for the sixth time, with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
The choir’s repertoire includes everything from medieval to contemporary and experimental music. Motets and lieder for boys’ choir form the core of the touring repertoire, as do the choir’s own arrangements of quintessentially Viennese music, waltzes and polkas by Lanner and Strauss.
Both the choir and the Chapel Imperial have a long tradition of commissioning new works, going back to Imperial times, when composers like Mozart, Haydn, or Bruckner wrote for the ensemble. The Vienna Boys’ Choir performs major choral and symphonic works, sometimes as part of the Hofmusikkapelle, sometimes with other orchestras and men’s choirs. In recent years, they have performed with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Berlin, the Oslo Philharmonic and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and are regularly asked to supply soloists for large choral and orchestral works.

The Choir School
The choir maintains its own schools. Almost 400 children and teenagers between the ages of 3 and 18 study and rehearse in the Augartenpalais, a baroque palace and former imperial hunting lodge in Vienna. Beginning with kindergarten, run in cooperation with the city of Vienna, boys and girls are provided with an all-round education. At age ten, the most talented boys are selected to join the choir and enter the choir’s grammar school. All boys are assigned to one of the touring choirs.
Academic lessons are taught in small groups. The school offers extracurricular activities ranging from all kinds of sports to attending a wide range of concerts, operas, plays, musicals and movies. All choir boys live in the choir’s well-appointed boarding school, with two to three boys sharing a room.
In 2010, the choir launched its new senior high school for boys and girls. The unique curriculum for years 8 to 12 was developed in conjunction with the Universities of Music in Vienna and in Salzburg; it is designed to help young singers fnd their voice and discover and develop their talents, and to prepare young singers for university and for a career in music.
Most students retain a lifelong commitment to the Arts. Roughly a quarter of the school’s alumni go on to become professional musicians, conductors, singers or instrumentalists. Almost all continue to sing. There are two male voice ensembles made up entirely of former choristers, the Chorus Viennensis and the Imperial Chapel’s Schola Cantorum, who specialises in Gregorian chant.

Development and Funding
The Vienna Boys’ Choir is a private, non-for-proft organisation, which finances itself largely through concerts, recordings and royalties. The Ministry of Education and the State’s Art Department help fund special projects, such as the production of new children’s operas. Further development and projects depend on additional support.
The POK Pühringer Privatstiftung, based in Vienna’s Palais Coburg is the choir’s general sponsor. With its backing, the choir was able to build its own on-campus concert hall to facilitate opera productions in particular. The hall opened in December of 2012, with a joint gala concert by the Vienna Boys' Choir and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Its name, MuTh, stands for “Music and Theatre”. MuTh serves the entire community of Vienna with a wide range of acts, and there is special focus on giving a platform to young performers.

Luiz de Godoy was appointed one of the conductors of the Vienna Boys Choir in 2016 – he conducts one of the touring choirs both in Austria and on tour. Besides selecting the repertoire for his choir, and conducting the daily rehearsals, he prepares the choristers for the Sunday Masses at the Imperial Chapel, for appearances in the opera, recordings, and film shoots. His first major task with the boys was the production of “Der Bettelknabe (The begging boy)” in Vienna, a children’s opera by Gerald Wirth, written for the choir. To Mr de Godoy, music is one of the virtues of human life; something that can be taught and learned, something that helps us express ourselves, understand each other, and treat each other with respect. “It is vital to be exposed to music as early as possible,” he says.
De Godoy was born in Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil. As a choirboy in his hometown he learned to love music. He learned to play the piano at the music school of the opera house in São Paulo, and went on to study piano, choral and orchestral conducting, solo voice, and organ at the University of São Paulo and the Music University in Cologne, Germany. He holds a master’s degree in piano from the University of Applied Arts in Castelo Branco, Portugal. In 2009, de Godoy was one of twenty students from around the world selected as recipients of a scholarship for an exchange programme run by UNESCO, leading to studies and performances in Boston, Tanglewood, New York and Washington DC. In 2013, Luiz de Godoy matriculated at the Music University in Vienna, studying orchestral conducting with Simeon Pironkov and choral conducting with Erwin Ortner.
Luiz de Godoy began to perform professionally at an early age, as singer, pianist, and conductor. At the age of only fourteen, he served as a répétiteur in projects of the São Paulo opera house, working on choral concerts and on a wide range of operas, from works by Mozart to works by Weill. At 15, he went on stage as a pianist in Orff's Carmina Burana. Later, he directed the Opera Studio of the „Música nas Montanhas“ Festival in Brazil. In addition to performing, de Godoy is active as music educator. In his home country, he has led classes for schoolchildren in solo singing and choir, as part of “Projeto Guri”, a major programme of the Brazilian government.
In 2010, de Godoy moved to Europe. He sang with the European Chamber Choir, Cologne; worked as assistent conductor in Melk, Lower Austria, and led a workshop on Brazilian choir music at the University of Vienna. He has also been working as assistant director of the women's chamber choir Cantilena, and of Gumpoldskirchner Spatzen, an Austrian children’s choir, with whom he undertook tours to China and Germany. He continues to work as assistant to the artistic director of the prestigious Wiener Singakademie, collaborating with the likes of  Gustavo Dudamel, Sir Simon Rattle, Valery Gergiev, and Simone Young.

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