NWZ – 01.10.2019
by Andreas R. Schweiberer
OLDENBURG 34 singers of the Kammerchor Oldenburg under the direction of Johannes von Hoff sang a very dense and rich a cappella concerto in the Ansgari-Kirche with five great compositions by Heinrich Schütz, Felix Mendelssohn, Max Reger and Rudolf Mauersberger, which all belong to the indispensable repertoire. Seven contemporary Polish compositions for choir, including three world premieres, were woven into this strong German backbone of the programme “Pokój Frieden Pax”. The choir will also sing the programme grouped around the biblical request “Da pacem” (Gib Frieden) on a trip abroad in Thorn, Posen, Breslau and Görlitz.
The roof truss of the late Romanesque church in Golzwarden was destroyed by fire in summer. The Arp Schnitger organ was preserved, but has to be dismantled for the time being. As a benefit for the valuable organ, half of the concert revenue will be used for the renovation.
In addition to the thematic focus on peace, here especially with our Polish neighbours, and the meaningful benefit for an important organ in the organ landscape of north-western Germany, another focus of the successful concert with a high choral culture in three world premieres by contemporary Polish composers. The “Te Deum” by Andrzej Bielerzewski, “The Prayer of Saint Francis” by Jakub Neske and especially Katarzyna Danel’s “Da pacem, Domine” fit very well into the challenging and thematically bound programme. The excellently rehearsed chamber choir, which reacted cleanly and dynamically with great flexibility throughout, sang the three premieres sovereignly and with warm sympathy for the compositions, which were quite clearly influenced by the new English choral singing and drew from a rich pool of harmonies, rhythms and melodies.
The emotional highlight was the almost classically restrained and soothed mourning that makes Mauersberger’s composition “Wie liegt die Stadt so wüst” so haunting. Written in Dresden in view of the incomprehensible destruction of the war, it is lamented here without accusation, without exaggerated gestures. Everything is formally framed and therefore so insistent. In a vocally, technically and emotionally convincing performance, the chamber choir here, but also in Reger’s “Nachtlied” (Night Song), managed, through the intimate adaptation of the music, not to demand the longed-for peace and harmony as an exterior, but to create it from within and make it appear as always present.