Launching Connections - The first concert program

The first concert program will be divided into three parts, each of which deal with a musical connection and opens the door to future programs.

First Connection - Old World and New World

When the Spanish and Portuguese Empires conquered the new colonies in Central and South America, one of the goals was to shape the indigenous population with their own culture. In major cities such as today’s Mexico City or Puebla, cathedrals were founded with their own choir schools, which became major centers of church music during the 16th and 17th centuries. Composers from Spain and Portugal, who were trained in Italy and Spain, moved to the New Colonies and worked there as Maestri di Capilla. Initially, the music sung at these places consisted mainly of repertoire from the Old World, but over time developed an independent repertoire, which incorporated the musical influence of the indigenous population as early as the second generation. This development is illustrated with works by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Francisco Guerrero, Juan Gutierrez de Padilla and Francisco Lopez Capillas.

Second Connection - Great Britain and Germany

The Irishman Charles Villiers Stanford, who was an important representative of English Church Music revival movement of the 19th century, made several trips to Leipzig and Berlin to study Johann Sebastian Bach's polyphony and Johannes Brahms' harmony. With their motets ,Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied'BWV 225 and ‘Schaffe in mir, Gott, ein rein’ Herz' Op.29 / 2 we feature two classics of choral literature in our program. These influences are especially prevalent in Stanford's little-known 'Magnificat in B flat for Double Choir': Bach's virtuoso vocal lines and counterpoint, combined with Brahms’ dense harmony, blend into a compositional masterpiece, topped off with Stanford's galant melodiousness!

Third Connection - North America and the Asias/Pacifics

The third part of the program focuses on the connections between the USA and the Pacific in choral music. Especially in the Asian region, wonderful choral music is currently being created, which, however, still receives too little attention in the European choral scene. This block opens with a standard work of the Classic American Modern, Samuel Barber’s 'Reincarnations', which have strongly influenced subsequent generations of American composers. Chinese composer Chen Yi was the first woman to receive a Master of Arts degree in composition from the Central Conservatory of Music Beijing and now teaches at the University of Missouri. In her 'Tuttarana', the Indian-born composer Reena Esmail, who lives in the USA, combines the Hindu solo song of the Tarana with the western idiom of the (tutti) choir. Ken Steven’s 'Hentaken Jiwa' (The Pulse of the Soul) transfers traditional Malay dance movements to the voice, making it accessible to the emerging Indonesian choral scene.