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St Thomas's Boys Choir and the University Church of St Paul

St Thomas's Boys Choir  and the University Church of St Paul 

© 2010 (CD ROP4032)
total time 74:53

Title available on iTunes

Catalogue no.: ROP4032

EUR 16,95

19 % VAT incl.

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With this disc, St Thomas’s Boys Choir remembers Leipzig’s University Church of St Paul, which was destroyed in 1968. Built in the thirteenth century, the church survived the battle of the Völkerschlacht as well as the First and Second World Wars unscathed. In 1968, however, the Politbüro of the socialist party, the Leipzig city council, and the University’s senate decided to demolish the church and to redesign the town’s Augustusplatz to match socialist ideals. A church was no longer adequate for the campus of what was then the Karl-Marx University. This CD was released on the anniversary of the church’s demolition on 30 May.

St Thomas’s Boys Choir commemorates the great historical and cultural value of the University Church of St Paul together with the Gewandhaus Orchestra and a number of soloists. Compositions from Johann Sebastian Bach and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy to Dmitri Terzakis shed light onto the century-long joint history and musical connections between the University and St Thomas’s Boys Choir.

Bach’s motet Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf (BWV 226) received its premiere performance at the University Church of St Paul in October 1729. St Thomas’s Boys Choir sang at the funeral service for Johann Heinrich Ernesti, the former director of the boys’ school. The funerary piece Lass, Fürstin, lass noch einen Strahl (BWV 198) likewise had its premiere performance at the University Church. In his role as cantor at St Thomas, Bach had composed this secular cantata for the commemoration of the recently deceased Christiane Eberhardine. The much-loved Saxonian Princess and Polish Queen had been the wife of August der Starke.

Works by three further important Leipzig musicians are recorded on the new disc: Psalm 43, Richte mich Gott, by the former Gewandhauskapellmeister Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, as well as Max Regers chorale cantata O wie selig seid ihr doch, ihr Frommen. Reger was the University’s director of music between 1907 and 1908. His current successor David Timm accompanies the cantata at the Sauer-Organ of St Thomas’s Church. The present recording makes liturgical music-making come to life: Georg Christoph Biller (cantor at St Thomas) has the congregation join in for some of the chorale stanzas—as Reger had intended.

In June 2009, St Thomas’s Boys Choir sang the world premiere performance of Heinz Werner Zimmermann’s (*1930) motet Wahrlich, ich sage euch at St Thomas Leipzig on the occasion of Leipzig University’s 600th anniversary. Dmitri Terzakis’ (*1938) work Die Reden Gottes bears the subtitle ‘in commemoration of the demolition of Leipzig’s University Church on 30 May 1968’, an thus puts the present disc’s concept in a nutshell.

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