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      St. Thomas Choir, Leipzig in Durham

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      November 14, 2017


      Duke University
      Durham, North Carolina 27708

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      St. Thomas Choir, Leipzig

      The Thomanerchor — otherwise known as the St. Thomas Choir of Leipzig, whose most famous cantor was Johann Sebastian Bach — is one of the world’s most enduring musical institutions. Founded in 1212 to provide music for church services, The Thomanerchor hired Bach in 1723; he held the position until his death and is buried at St. Thomas. Bach’s music remains a mainstay of the choir’s repertoire, and its fifty exceptionally talented boy singers, all between the ages of nine and eighteen still perform his works every Sunday. In recent decades the enormous choir has made international touring a central part of its activities, taking the entire ensemble beyond the church walls of Leipzig and out into the world. The New York Times calls the choir’s sound “magnificent, soaring, poignant, ethereal.”

      Inside the appropriately gothic setting of Duke Chapel, the Thomanerchor sings sacred works by Germany’s most revered composers. Led by cantor Gotthold Schwarz and organist Stefan Altner, the Choir sings a Psalm setting and a selection of motets and madrigals by early baroque composer Heinrich Schütz. The choristers turn next to a hymn setting and a sacred madrigal by Schütz’s contemporary and Bach’s predecessor at St. Thomas by a hundred years, Johann Schein. At the center of the concert are three Bach motets: Fürchte dich nicht, Komm, Jesu, komm, and Der Geist hilft unsrer Schwachheit auf, all for double choir. The Thomanerchor also includes several works from the nineteenth century: Felix Mendelssohn’s Mitten wir im Leben sind, and two movements from his Deutsche Liturgie: “Kyrie eleison” and “Heilig.”Program

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