Favorite work of December 2017
Every month a member of the Carus team introduces his/her favorite work, whether it be a choral piece, a CD, a songbook or an instrumental work. The recommendation for December 2017 was contributed by Maria Groß.
Loreley. Folk songs for choir
Mendelssohn's Wedding March combined with the Birds' Wedding? When we played this audio sample from the accompanying CD to the new Loreley choral collection in a workshop given by the editor Volker Hempfling at chor.com in Dortmund earlier this year, some people in the audience could hardly suppress their smiles.
By this point at the latest, two things were clear to all the participants: namely, that folk songs are not in the slightest bit boring, and that three-part settings with just one male voice part can sound just as good as their four-part equivalents.
These are also two of the reasons why I have chosen the new Loreley choral collection as my favorite work. The arrangements are very varied and cover all kinds of styles – from classic settings to jazzy echoes and non-European rhythms, to scat elements in classic Christmas carols. The contents include many well-known German pieces, such as "Guten Abend, gut Nacht", "In einem kühlen Grunde", and "Kein schöner Land". The level of difficulty varies, but the male voice part is always written in the baritone range. Some pieces have piano accompaniment, and others are unaccompanied. So the choral collection is suitable both for young choirs, and for choirs with few male voices amongst their ranks.
Another reason for recommending this is the fantastic accompanying CD, recorded by the figure humaine chamber choir conducted by Denis Rouger. This shows just how good folk songs can be in a new guise – and people are pleased they can still sing some songs from their childhood right through. My personal favorite here is the setting by Wolfram Buchenberg of "Jetzt kommen die lustigen Tage": pepped up by Latin American rhythms in the piano accompaniment makes listening alone amazing fun – and you cannot help but join in with all your heart and soul by the 2nd refrain, "Schätzel, ade", if not sooner.
All in all, this is a tremendously versatile and useful choral collection, which every choir will find a wealth of uses for. And incidentally, in the Birds' Wedding referred to above there are even more musical references – have fun discovering them!
Maria Groß studied musicology and music pedagogy in Eichstätt, and cultural management in Saarbrücken. Since April she has organized events for Carus. In her free time she enjoys singing in choirs.