Tuesday, October 27, 2009

As I mentioned last time, I have another Vienna Boys Choir DVD that I really like a lot. It is titled A Mozart Celebration. This DVD is bigger than the previous one in every way. It’s longer with a larger orchestra and more singers, and it’s also filmed inside a huge cathedral, the Domkirche St. Stephen in Vienna. The opening shot is of the outside of the cathedral and it’s massive and really impressive.
The inside is breathtaking with every surface textured and lavishly ornate. There are a lot of large paintings that are very beautiful, especially the one behind the altar, and there are lots of chandeliers and sculptures. Unfortunately the camera seems to spend more time panning around the interior than focusing on the boys.

2006 must have been a good year at the Palais Augarten because the boys were outstanding. They sang Ave Verum Corpus again and my favorite Mozart Mass, the “Coronation Mass” in C major (I can’t believe I actually have a favorite Mozart Mass). The two boy soloists were really sweet and fun to watch.

There is something I have yet to figure out and that is the purpose of the numbers after the names of the compositions. For example, here they have two versions of the same tune, Church Sonata in C Major, K. 278 and Church Sonata in C Major, K. 317. Could they not think of another name?

This time the men were from the Chorus Viennensis and the music was by the Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien.

I know I shouldn’t say this because it probably makes me look shallow, but there is one thing about this DVD that I don’t care for very much. They have a soprano, Sandrine Piau, who somehow annoys me. She looks quite elegant and has a good voice, but I just wish she would hold still. Instead, she constantly sways left and right while bobbing her head back and forth and making these odd facial contortions.

I think that all singers should emulate Josh Madine and always sing with a big smile on their face (unless they are singing something like I Pagliacci, of course). Anyway, my solution is to simply close my eyes when she’s on and that makes it much better.


  1. The K numbers refer to the Koechel catalog of Mozart's works...just like the BWV numbers (Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis) are a catalog of works by JS Bach.

    It was common, during that era, to simply "name" a piece of music for what it was...i.e., a Concerto or Scherzo or whatever, and its key.

    You're quite correct about the smile, too, and not just because it looks better: it also helps to lift the palate which keeps your tone more clear.

  2. Thanks David, I had wondered about the BWV initials too. I'll have to try and work this information into a conversation at work so everybody will be impressed.

  3. More likely, Larry, they'll simply do what my friends do when I toss a little tidbit like that out: just shake their heads, sadly....lol