Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Die Erste Walpurgisnacht op. 60
Johannes Brahms Nänie op. 82
Robert Schumann Der Königssohn op. 116
"For me, the cooperation between the Bavarian State Orchestra and the Audi Young Persons’ Choral Academy is an excellent example of how to promote young musicians successfully." Kent Nagano
"This choir is a smash." Ariel Zuckermann
The Audi Young Persons’ Choral Academy was founded in 2007 and since then has become a showcase in the field of cultural promotion programs for young people. The Academy offers talented young singers aged 16 to 27 ambitious musical challenges within a choir and professional individual vocal coaching, as well as the opportunity of gathering on-stage experience before large audiences.
In May 2010, the choir performed at a charity concert in St. Michael’s church, Munich at the same time giving their debut in that capital of music. The extraordinary artistic encounter with the Bavarian State Orchestra conducted by Kent Nagano presented an exciting challenge to the young singers.
Kent Nagano, whose utmost concern it is that musical tradition, acquired skills and practical musical experience be handed down to the next generation, was very pleased with the cooperation: "I am absolutely thrilled! The Audi Young Persons’ Choral Academy is something very special for these young people. They have fine voices and a wonderful passion for music, and they are willing to practice intensively together. Artistically I think this is terrific and very important from a social point of view as well."
The release of the concert program on CD also fills a gap in the musical canon: Schumann’s opus "Der Königssohn" (Royal son) has not been available at all in recorded form until recently. The composer divides the choral ballad – based on a poem by Ludwig Uhland – into six parts. Each part is endowed with its own musical character in sound, expression and form. Mendelssohn’s dramatically and musically exuberant ballad "Die erste Walpurgisnacht" (First Walpurgis Night) is based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s eponymous text and takes the listener back to the times of the christianisation of Germany. In Brahms’ "Nänie" (Song of Lament) both ensembles show their mastery of long dramatic phrases and changing shades of tonality. The text of this opus stems from the pen of Friedrich Schiller.
The youthfully fresh colour of the choir and the young singers’ overflowing will to express themselves perfectly suit the romantic mood of the whole programme.
The essence shared by the pieces presented here, and written by three great romantic composers, is their pictographic language and their intent to inspire the listener’s fantasy. The genre of film was unknown in the 19th century, but back then, the yearning to glimpse into other lives and worlds was no less than it is today. Artists employed narrative art forms which did not offer images as such but rather conjured these up in the fantasies of their listeners and readers. In literature, legends, fairy tales, myths and religious writings served this purpose. To connect different narrative levels and – as we would say today – different media with an emotional component, the artists back then used the same narrative element that also conveys important meanings in todays films: music.
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"… all three works on the disc are cast with flavoursome soloists, none more so than the excellent bass, Franz-Josef Selig. …" BBC music, Hilary Finch, June 2011
"… Recorded in gorgeous colors, Mendelssohn’s intriguing score receives a loving performance from Nagano and his youthful chorus, assisted by a resplendent Bavarian State Orchestra, whose French horn, woodwind, and string sections flow purest gold. The third movement 'Es lacht der Mai' between baritone and chorus could stand alone as crystalline paean to spring, transparent and rhythmically alert: 'Extol we now our Father’s name.' … The glories of the final movement, 'Die Flamme reinigt sich vom Rauch,' can hardly find verbal equivalents, a natural piety. …" Audiophile Audition, Gary Lemco, April 23, 2011
"… Schumann's "Der Königssohn' is an impressive piece which really struck me forcefully on first listen and Nagano treats the work with great respect, surely it is one of the discoveries of the year for me.
Farao delivers excellent sound in all departments and a fulsome booklet with detailed notes and full texts […]" www.classical.net, Gerald Fenech, April 2011
"… There is an excellent quartet of soloists, and Kent Nagano draws a splendid performance from his forces, the Bavarian State Orchestra and in particular the Audi Jugendchorakademie. This is a youth choir given the most enlightened support, in recruitment, training and encouragement into professional life, by the Audi car company; and it sings with a beauty of tone and a musical energy that are a great tribute all round. …" International Record Review, John Warrack, April 2011