Leipzig - continuing to be a city of music
Concert highlights from Morten Lauridsen to Giacomo Puccini
…it was last weekend that composer and pianist Morten Lauridsen and the Chamber Choir of Europe (under the baton of Nicol Matt) performed in the Thomaskirche. It was the final leg of their successful Germany tour promoting the release of the Deutsche Grammophon recording ‚Light Enternal’ - Choral Music of Morten Lauridsen.
The Schola Cantorum of Leipzig who were not only responsible for organising the concert also offered a workshop for singers, conductors and composers. Morten Lauridsen who is one of today’s most renowned contemporary choral composers took the workshop himself.
The evening concert in the Thomaskirche was a very moving experience. The atmospheric music transported the predominantly younger audience into another world - a mental breather from the daily stresses of life. Tears flowed and inward emotion stood in the room resulting in rapturous applause and standing ovations.
Nicol Matt and his Chamber Choir of Europe belong to the great choral tradition coined by Eric Ericson and are rightly considered to be masters in their field.
Accompanying on the piano was Morten Lauridsen himself. The prelude to this concert was his famous 'Lux aeterna’ which was sung from the gallery, along with Stefan Nusser playing the organ.
WELTEXPRESS, 9th October 2018, Midou Grossman
Bad Urach - Soulful harmonies full of colour
The Chamber Choir of Europe directed by Nicol Matt – one of the best choirs of our time.
...The compositions of Morten Lauridsen left a very strong impression: not only the solo songs sung by Florian Prey and Brigitte Geller, but also the choral works interpreted by the The Chamber Choir of Europe and the composer himself accompanying on the piano.
Already the choice of text gave a nod to a high quality. Lyrics in English, French, Spanish and Italian. From poets such as Howard Moss, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Pablo Neruda. The music styles vary between sprightly expressiveness in the solo songs to a full and harmonious sound in his choral works - this being Morten Lauridsens signature showing a personal, colourful and yet sometimes raw harmony. This is precisely expressed in the perfectly balanced and fantastic vocals of the well-trained young choir voices, sharpened in hard declamation, inspired by Nicol Matt's clear conducting. It is to be also noted that all singers performed with great emotion, supported by Lauridsen's soul music: especially in the choir version of "Dirait-on", "Ya eres mia" and the internalised hymn "O Magnum Mysterium".
SWP, 4th October 2018, Susanne Eckstein
Chamber choir ensemble with soloists from 14 countries
…The American composer Morten Lauridsen is known for writing some of the most popular contempary choral music. In the Karl- Friedrich- Gymnasium, Mannheim the chamber choir of europe unter the direction of Nicol Matt presented works taken from their latest release from Deutsche Grammophon label with Morten Lauridsen himself accompanying on the piano.
Lauridsen's choral works are so popular not least because they are easy to sing. Many of the neo-impressionistic pieces are extensively composed ... For the most unexcited, penetrating-mystical music, it requires an excellent intonation, pinpoint articulation and - above all - very beautiful voices. All this fulfills the Chamber Choir of Europe to perfection.’
2nd October 2018, Kako, Mannheimer Morgen
Pure acoustic bliss
… ‘with the Chamber Choir of Europe, Lauridsen's music was in extremely reliable hands (more precisely, throats). Again, the 24 singers, twelve ladies and as many gentlemen, distinguished themselves as top-class vocalists. The choral sound produced by them was of exquisite, exquisite beauty: the purest feast for the ears.
Nicol Matt provided clear and meaningful direction with detailed attention to poetic moments, dynamics and articulation. He worked with all registers and kept a consistent, exemplary homogeneous and supple sound. There was no trace of effort or even sharpening, the transitions always remained seamless.
A special mention should be given to the fine mood pictures of the four Nocturnes (two by Rilke, one each from Neruda and Agee) not forgetting 'O Magnum Mysterirum'. The latter piece was repeated as an encore, with the active participation of the participants of a workshop, finishing the concert on a high’.
Die Rheinpfalz, 2nd October 2018, Gabor Halasz
Cali's energized rendition of Mozart's Requiem
...'The Maestro from Milan attacked the score with much energy. Excellent choir and soloists. Ristori Theater gave hospitality to the traditional Easter concert that Fondazione Cariverona offers every year to the bishop and town citizens.
Mozart's Requiem in D minor KV 626 was the chosen music for this year, with the Italian Philarmonic Orchestra, and the Chamber Choir of Europe directed by Inaki Encina Oyón; the whole team under Massimiliano Caldi's conduction.
The choir also provided the soloists: soprano - Silvia Sabater Martinez, contralto - Mercè Bruguera, tenor - Santiago Sánchez and bass - Daniel Weiler. They performed both the choir and the solo parts. It is difficult to express anything new about the famous score, nevertheless the soirée resulted a major succes thanks probably to the conductor's passional and energic approach to the piece.
It is only right to acknowledge that Caldi had both a choir and a professional orchestra of outstanding calibre at his disposal: not only were they able to carry out his intentions to the letter but also to hold the very sustained tempi, resulting in a supremely polished performance of the highest quality...' 31.03.2018, L´Arena Verona
The Chamber Choir of Europe delivers a heavenly and enchanting performance in Mannheim
...'Renaissance meets modern’... ‚this explains a great deal about the quality of this chamber choir, which puts parts of the latin sibyl-oracle - composed by Orlando di Lasso - in relation to contemporary musical versions under the direction of Bernhard Sieberer ...how naturally the choir stride across the harmonic phrases and changes with perfect intonation whilst transporting the idea of the intense art of a-cappella’...
02.01.2018, Eckhard Britsch, Mannheimer Morgen
…a competent, stylish and inspiring performance was given in Mannheim. The Chamber Choir of Europe, with singers from around fifteen countries, was simply captivating with it’s incorruptible clarity of intonation and perfectly well-balanced, beautiful sound of sonorous fullness. Moreover, the artistic ambition of the choir was eloquently expressed - not only by Lasso - in its creative presence and the richness of its facets under the direction of Austrian conductor Bernhard Sieberer, who focuses on differentiation and expression. Finally, the two solo singers Sílvia Sabater Martínez and Anna Tarca deserve praise.
02.01.2018, Gabor Halasz, Die Rheinpfalz
Chamber Choir of Europe perform as part of the Bach Urach Autumn Festival
BAD URACH : Admirable and intensively cultivated: works by Gesualdo and Bruckner performed by the Chamber Choir of Europe under Mark Melchiori.
The 25-member Chamber Choir of Europe, who are an international top young choir stood on the podium, they performed with a serious, dignified, majestic and pure style to the well-attended audience. In addition, spotless and supple, which often intertwined transparency and homogeneity. The vast space of the church favored the living harmonies and sacred aura, producing a sense of inner peace to the performance. A classy, impressive choral experience of the highest quality.
Südwestpresse, 10.10.2013, Susan Eckstein
Chamber Choir of Europe perform to an astonished audience in Speyer Cathedral
” A magnificent young ensemble performed as part of the” Speyer Cathedral International Music Festival “. The Chamber Choir of Europe sang works by Gesualdo, as well as in the Mass in E minor Bruckner led by Director of Music Mark Melchiori.
Melchiori led a very pure performance which enhanced the harmonic and contrapuntal daring in bright light. The choir sang very concentrated resulting in the brilliant definition of the complex interval layers which produced an atmospheric, beautiful sound.
It felt like almost pure light … when the Chamber Choir of Europe began to sing ‘Sanctus’ they created a glowing, gorgeous and golden sound.
The concert began with the ‘Responses for Holy Week’ by Carlo Gesualdo which were sung by the Choir with a great excellence. Finest dynamic nuances gave visionary harmonies a shine. A wondrous all enveloping euphony could be heard in this six-part setting, that sounded like it were descending from heaven.
Die Rheinpfalz, 01.10.2013, Reiner Köhl
Purity of expression
“The International Music Festival in Speyer Cathedral endeavor to make connections between children’s musicals and contrasting programmatic repertoires spanning different eras.
And so the Chamber Choir of Europe performed as part the music festival Bruckner’s E Minor Mass. This proved to be a dramatic prelude to the final concert on Sunday.
The choir sang with clarity and purity of expression and as if pierced by a needle into the polyphonic lines. Enthusiasm worthy of the intense gestures given by Domkapellmeister Mark Melchiori, developed the choral singing very dynamic and agile style.
Mannheimer Morgen, 01.10.2013
Heidelberg Spring Festival: Bach Motets
One would not think that the Chamber Choir of Europe is a project choir with an ever changing cast; the choir presented themselves in the Heiliggeistkirche as a homogeneous ensemble that honored the vocal art with great seriousness and joyful tenseness. Johann Sebastian Bach’s motets were performed under the direction of Georg Grün – founder and director of the chamber choir Saarbrücken – where the choir connected vocal maturity with youthful spirit.
There was nothing more harmonious than the relationship than in the double choir structures in some motets, an ensemble could not get more professional than this. Grün conducted the choir with tireless body language that often acted as gestural interpretation of the text.
The singers responded to his instructions with dedication and beautiful expression. Despite the reverberant acoustic of the church, the audience could hear the sound of well-trained voices, but also the solo sections that gave an impression of the distinctive vocal abilities of the choir members.
The Chamber Choir of Europe not only balanced the relationship between vocal and technical safety in fugal passages, but at the same time performed these phrases with little effort in a smooth and meaningful way. The last “Hallelujah” chord at the end of the motet “Sing to the Lord” seemed like a triumph.
Mannheimer Morgen, 16.04.2013, Uwe Rauschelbach
A new song?
The approach was promising: small cast, clear sound and transparency, dynamic contrast with differentiation. The idea mentioned in the first motet “Jesu, meine Freude” echo phrases and passages within “Es ist nun nichts” sung by soloists was very beautiful. This resulted in a wonderful gradation within a three-dimensional cavity. Especially impressive were the tenors contoured, moveable, voluminous voices. … “Sing to the Lord a new song,” is the title of one of the motets. To show that even the good old Bach can always be listed as a truly “new song” and should that might have been, the Chamber Choir of Europe succeed even better.
For the Encore the choir depended on the conductor to simultaneously direct in different tempos, at the end of each phrase the singers waited for each other to finish. The sounded like Bach’s composition dammed into clusters. This was truly a “new song” because the choir had actually amazed the audience. Rhein-Neckar Zeitung, 15.04.2013, Teresa Roelcke
Summer Tour ‘O Magnum Mysterium’ 2012 - 1000 years of anthems
The Chamber Choir of Europe conducted by Daniel Sans
Vocal art on a high level has been presented in the Friedenskirche in Ludwigshafen: sung by the Chamber Choir of Europe who gave a guest performance just before its international tour. The concert was supported by the „Ludwigshafener Kultursommer“. The choir was conducted by the concert singer and conductor Daniel Sans from Mayence.
… Meanwhile the choir who is speacialised in a capella music has an excellent international reputation and performs often within important concert series and festivals. Its reputation is even emphasized by numerous cd-recordings and cooperations with contemporary composers. After the concert it is easy to comprehend the success of the Chamber Choir of Europe….
All this has been achieved by 9 female singers and 12 male singers showing a virtuosic ensemble technique and hard disciplin, a perfect balanced sound of exquisit quality and moving dynamics going unto subtle piano and pianissimo shades. Not to forget the straight, accurate intonation, even in the harmonic piquancies of the modern compositions.„Die Rheinpfalz“, 27.07.2012, Gabor Halasz
Chamber Choir of Europe in Ludwigshafen - The singers travel through a millenium
Journalists are always warned to use the term „magic moment“. Nevertheless, today we should talk about a „magic moment“ of a capella choir music, which took place in the Friedenskirche in Ludwigshafen in front of an obviously skilled audience…. The rightly celebrated concert was the beginning of an international tour by the choir.
Daniel Sans was free to proceed with the invariable instrumentally trained and flawless voices, forming double choirs and eight-part motets as well as solo parts or if necessary a smaller favourit choir. Not less impressing has been the stylistic capacity of the Chamber Choir of Europe…. The audience’s reaction was clear by giving an endless applaus. 27.07.2012, Mannheimer Morgen, Waltraud Brunst
Impressive journey through eight centuries
The singers of the Chamber Choir of Europe enchant the audience in the cathedral with their unique choir sound
… The Chamber Choir of Europe conducted by Daniel Sans performed the 8th international cathedral concert. For these singers the word „perform“ gets special dimension. These singers are professionals, human beings with their individually formed timbre… Daniel Sans, himself a well-known solo tenor, asks for individuality and subordination from his collegues in a way that gives the choir a character of recognition…. This chamber choir has a very personal touch….
Daniel Lager as a countertenor contributes a lot to this unique sound as well as the wide range between soprano and bass….
The way of interpretation gets under the skin. After Whitacres „Lux Aurumque“ the demand of not clapping was spontaneously interrupted. Applause roars…
During this evening the three building, organ and the voices created a consistent emotionality.01.08.2012, Badische Zeitung, mc
The concert of the Chamber Choir of Europe in the church of Toblach and the cathedreal in Brixen showed all varieties…. The Chamber Choir of Europe demonstrated this nearly in a didactic way. The more the voices mesh from the Sanctus onwards the more opens the inner and outer tonal range and the more the humand voices start to shine…. Each single voice was performed in a crystal-clear manner. 03.08.2012, Dolomiten, Margit Oberhammer
Concert Series: From love, joy and sorrow
“The Chamber Choir performed consistently with a clear, perfect sound and undoubted enjoyment under conductor Jan Schumacher – an evening of romantic songs for the heart” 17.3.2012, Rheinische Post, Barbara Mühlenhoff
Worry and uncertainty about the unified Germany
Wolf Biermann and the Chamber Choir of Europe on the Day of the German Unification
“It has been such a long time, yet still these very lines, and the crude power with which he is still singing them, have relevance: “You, don’t let yourself harden / in these hard times / You, don’t let yourself be consumed / Use your time.” What a magnificent idea to unite this bard, still juggling between anger and melancholy, irony and sadness, with 22 young, professionally trained voices of the Chamber Choir of Europe that developed from the World Youth Choir.
“Having set to music most of Biermann’s poems for this event and after harmonizing them in two days of rehearsal before the concert with Wolf Biermann, conductor Gunnar Eriksson has created fantastic musical contrasts and completions. Voices float from Bach-inspired choral forms to contrapuntal disunity, dissolve in dissonances, soar to diffuse spherical heights. Eriksson’s musical versions transpose the central element of almost all songs and poems by Biermann into music: dialectics.
The hopes and the doubts following a few lines after; the anger and fear to suffocate in fear of the ruling ones, the fear to suffocate in melancholy.” 05.10.2011, Schwäbische Zeitung, Wolfram Frommlet
No other class has such a performance quality
“Festival of European Church Music: Master Class in Directing Choirs with Nicol Matt and concert with the Chamber Choir of Europe in St. Granziskus… Ex ante: The internationally renowned choir is already performing for the third time at the European Church Music festival. … Following 100 minutes of continuous singing, the professional singers had to give in to the applauding audience by performing the two Gospels as an encore that gave the popular show-man Matt his reputation as a spirited artist…”30.07.2011, Rems-Zeitung,-ry
Master Directors Set The Pace
“Chamber Choir of Europe – outstanding concert in historical church of Schwäbisch Gmünd. A vocal ensemble of the highest caliber, an extraordinary program and highly motivated participants at this years’ Festival of European Church Music Master Class “Directing choirs” – All the prerequisites for a truly extraordinary concert in the Franziskuskirche were in place.
Facilitator Nicol Matt insisted on this… Even the first piece showed the exorbitant range of the singers. From the far end of the church’s quire, in a glorious colorful row, the ensemble shone with a homogeneous, wonderfully soft choral sound and perfect intonations across all dynamic ranges. … The audience showed its appreciation for an unparalleled choral concert by long-lasting applause and standing ovations in the full-capacity church. As an encore, the audience was rewarded with two Gospels by Moses Hogan – the “Battle of Jericho” and “Elijah Rock” – which were interpreted with incredible verve.30.07.2011, Gmünder Tagespost, Hansjörg Sattler
“Inspiring concert: Chamber Choir of Europe opens the Music Days Southern Wine Route in the historical collegiate church of Landau
With “Dreams And Visions”not being built on shifting sand, but on the professional voices of a young and international ensemble and supported by American choral music, the Music Days Southern Wine Route opened last Saturday evening at the historical collegiate church Landauer Stiftskirche . No lofty words were required; the music of the chamber choir of Europe spoke for itself and the high standard of this new festival.
… The particular attraction of this concert was its exquisitely dynamic and versatile interpretation of the individual pieces. As all members of this uniquely spirited and lively ensemble are also outstanding soloists, … homogeneity and polyphony alternated like light and shade, and onomatopoeic effects invoked a truly acoustic cinema.” 26.07.2011, Die Rheinpfalz, ttg
A smiling mentor - Bobby McFerrin enchants again the Philharmonie
[...] for the “VOCAbuLarieS-tour” the choir’s conductor Roger Treece was required to develop a sound that was both delicate and expressive yet entirely unified. This he achieved to perfection, with the choir reproducing Bobby McFerinn’s complex harmonies and arrangements with extraordinary poise and confidence.
Using his vocal power and intimate musical skills to build contrasting and interchanging effects, McFerrin himself became a smiling mentor of the most sublime and charismatic type [...] 29.03.2011, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Ralf Dombrowski
Essen – many described the magic of choral singing, but only a few in such a popular way as Kay Pollack. He turned the film “As it is in heaven” announcing glad tidings: the power of sound builds connections.
[...] it is rather within the improvisations of the choir, where it becomes clear what a musician “sui generis” Bobby McFerrin is. He held together the musical buildings, his breezing jive made even those well-trained and highly motivated singers sometimes appearing exerted. “ 23.03. 2011, WA, Edda Breski
Herbstliche Musiktage Bad Urach 2010
ALIMELEK oder WIRT UND GAST / ABU HASSAN 10.10.
[...] The Chamber Choir of Europe formed in the staging of Nicol Matt in a small cast is not a marginal existence. On the contrary, it has been integrated, despite tightness on the podium with scenic indications and contributed a lot to the amusing part of the two operas presenting cadgers, creditors or even praising people. The men showcased their potential between them in small solo work as servants and guards [...]14.10.2010, Der neue Merker – OPER UND BALLETT IN WIEN UND ALLER WELT, Udo Klebes
Musikherbst Urach Swabian
[...] “And the Chamber Choir of Europe contributes as a hypocritical lamenting club of cadgers a lot of irony into the game. Hand-picked singers such as the Gardiner-experienced tenor Jan Kobow, the soprano Britta Stallmeister and the bass-comedian Lars Woldt provided, despite long-breathed dialogs, a strong-voiced and humorous revival of those 2 operas. “ 12.10.2010 Südwest Presse, Otto Paul Burkhard
Bobby McFerrin and the Chamber Choir of Europe in the „Philharmonie“
“… great world music, setting standards for choral music. Of course, McFerrin himself is rather a guest in his own sound universe which the Chamber Choir of Europe evoked gorgeously. That’s why the master acted out his duntless desire to improvise, his entertaining qualities and – typical for him – the exchange between falsetto and deep bass voice executing within seconds during his extensive solo passages…”
Bobby as mastermind and egoist
” McFerrin’s top choir conjures in Straubing – But the master barely let it sing “There is nobody on earth, who can sing like Bobby McFerrin. It has solitarily been him, who accomplished the cultural achievement of redefining what singing is about and what can be achieved in this form of art. … The music gets nearly corporally experienced, when the Chamber Choir Europe sings by heart and perfectly those pioneering works, which Roger Treece has developed from McFerrin’s improvisations for his current album “Vocabularies”: […]“ 20.07.2010, Passauer Neue Presse, Raimund Meisenberger
Mendelssohn, Choral works (complete)
“…Presiding over proceedings is the accomplished conductor Nicol Matt, who has an innate feel for balance, tempo and phrasing.
…Take, for example, Lauda Sion, the composer’s largest setting of a Latin text. The taste and artistry are second to none, if the invention is not necessarily the most penetrating, The orchestral-vocal balances are beautifully handled, and the performance is therefore most rewarding. The various solo singers emerge from the ranks of the chorus, as is appropriate. They are all talented and musical: among the best performances are those of the tenor Daniel Sans (the Lauda Sion is particularly good) and the bass Manfred Bittner, whose performance of the aria in Psalm 115 is memorable.
…This worthwhile set enhances our understanding of Mendelssohn as a great composer, and it deserves praise for that worthy achievement alone, though its strengths go beyond any single dimension.”11,2003 classical music web, Terry Barfoot
Rutter, I my best beloved’s am
“(…) Nicol Matt’s Nordic Chamber choir is a recently formed group, consisting of superbly trained and capable (mostly German) young singers. I first heard their amazing sound in their recent release on Bayer, o Magnum Mysterium (100 305, Jan/Feb 2001), devoted to the striking and comfortable music of Lauridsen. Their singing is an endless marvel of choral precision, tonal color, and youthful emotionality–though it lacks that “mature” ring that an ensemble of older voices would have. But they are without doubt one of Europe’s very finest up-and-coming new choirs. (…) Performances are exemplary in every way, the sound is stunning, and the beautifully laid-out program notes are a work of art unto themselves. This left me determined to both hear and perform as much of this man’s wonderful music as I possibly can.” 11, 2002, American Record Guide, J. Lindsay Koob
“…this is a tremendously accomplished, imaginatively directed choir…They produce some fascinating sonorities among the lower voices and never sound less than fully engaged: a credit to Nicol Matt, their gifted conductor.” 11.2002, Grammophone