Saturday, January 2, 2010

There is a town 52 Km south of Munich Germany called Bad Tölz . Oddly there doesn’t seem to be a Good Tölz anywhere on the map, but there is something really good that comes from Bad Tölz and that is Der Tölzer Knabenchor.

This CD (that Santa brought) Halleluja - Festliche Musik, appears to be a re-release of a 1972 album and it has a marvelous soloist by the name of Hans Buchhierl. The songs on here are popular classical standards from Handel, Bach, Haydn Mozart, etc and they are wonderful renditions.

In the movie Shrek there is a scene where princess Fiona is singing in the forest with a bluebird who tries to match her increasingly high notes until it finally explodes. I often think of that scene when I hear Hallelujah by Handel. You know the part where the boys sing “King of Kings… and Lord of Lords,” then they sing it again even higher and a third time going higher still and holding it. Amazing. This CD opens with that song and the boys really do reach the heights.

You should hear Hans Buchhierl on the second song, Ombra Mai Fu, also by Handel. It is such a moving melody and his voice is like crystal, clear and lovely even when he reaches down for some lower notes. Hans has some delightfully surprising nuance and skill in his singing.

Besides Ave Maria (Bach), Panis Angelicus and Ave Verum Corpus, I was familiar with most of the songs here even though I didn’t recognize their German names.

Tölzer Knabenchor is one of the great choirs of the world with an almost unbelievable number of recordings.
I’ll be listening to this CD a lot.

Once again I lifted a bit of information about the choir from BCSD: “In 1956... Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden founded the Tölzer Knabenchor in Bad Tölz. The wide musical range of the choir encloses vocal music of the Middle Ages up to modernity. Since 1970, there is a section in Munich with its own studio in Munich-Solln. At the moment, nearly 80% of the choir members come from Munich, although Bad Tölz remains an important center. The universal training of the choir members is based on the discipline accepted voluntarily by each boy. Creativity, spontaneity and the joy of singing are as important as a highly developed technique."

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