Fans of choral and early music have much to discover in this week's program - straight from the Early Music Days festival in Herne, Germany, where the inventive programs are matched by top-notch musicianship.
The author behind this week's show reports there was a uniquely intense atmosphere for the concert we'll hear from the Church of the Cross in Herne, Germany. Each year, the city hosts its Early Music Days festival, full of powerful programs where the focus is often - but not always - on musical traditions prior to and including Bach. We'll open the broadcast this time with Russian Orthodox Church music from the 16th and 17th centuries in a performance by the Russian Patriarchate Choir led by their influential conductor Anatoly Grindenko.
Grindenko has contributed much to the appreciation of Russian choral traditions in his own country and well beyond, telling us, "I would also like to oppose another cliché that exists not just in the West but also in Russia. People think choral music from the church has to be disembodied, withdrawn, ethereal - with no substance. That also applies to the Gregorian tradition by the way. Yes, it's an ascetic music. But ascetic doesn't mean 'lifeless'! Quite the opposite."
Our program also features choral music from the same period by the German composer Paulus Bucenus, who lived and worked in Riga, and we round things out with Chopin about as close to the original as possible from another concert program elsewhere on the same day in Herne.
Blagoslovi, dushe moya, Gospoda
S nami Bog
Gimn Hristu: Svete Tihii
Nyne Sily nebesnye
Oleg Kovalev, bass
Russian Patriarchate Choir, Moscow
Conductor: Anatoly Grindenko
Paulus Bucenus (-1586)
Vitam quae faciunt beatiorem
Recorded by West German Radio (WDR) in the Church of the Cross, Herne on November 17, 2013
Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)
Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor, op. 11, 1st movement, in the version for piano and string quartet
Janusz Olejniczak, piano
Recorded by West German Radio (WDR) in the Herne Arts Center on November 17, 2013
Rebroadcasting rights: One broadcast before January 12, 2015