Musikverein Buchenbach: Weihnachtskonzert (Satis Shroff)
Buchenbach lies to the east of the Kingdom of Heaven (Himmelreich) with an idyllic location, surrounded by Black Forest homesteads: Mesbacherhof, Zähringerhof, Rufenhof, Brissenhof. The ruins of the castle Burgberkenhof looms over the hamlet. And that’s where I went to the New Year’s concert in the Sommerberghalle performed by the Musikverein Buchenbach, where I happen to know quite a few people. In Buchen bach most of the people bear the names Schuler or Maier.
What do you expect in a small provincial town in Germany? It was a well-chosen programme and the conductor, an elderly man named Joseph Schuler, who has been conducting since 1983, started the evening with an instrumental marching song ‘A Day of Hope’ composed by the Austrian Fritz Neuböck. If you play a march in Germany, the elderly generation is with you because they’ve heard so many marching songs since their childhood. Today’s generation has a rather USA and UK taste for music with You Tube, Facebook, iPod, iMac download possibilities.
The next number was an ouverture Dichter und Bauer composed by Franz von Suppe, who was born in 1890 and arranged by Max Hampel: a comedy with songs about a marriage with a fiery crescendo towards the end. Then came the time of the tuba with the Bombastic Bombardon played by Klaus Mangler and other young solists. This was followed by Lichtblicke, a symphonic fantasy by Kurt Gäble, depicting different lights with music and symbolising the ups and downs of life and the inevitable light in the darkness.
Maximillian Maier, a young and talented trumpeteer, then played The Rose composed by Amanda McBroom, Bette Middler and Frank Bernaerts. The Rose is a Hollywood movie about the stardom of Janice Joplin and her eventual fall at the hands of a money-hungry manager who makes her appear on-stage till she finally collapses.
Auf Ferienreisen composed by Joseph Strauß was the next piece arranged by Herber Maizer. This time even the conductor Joseph Schuler turned up with a big overseas suitcase, donning a Tyroler hat and began furiously with a pacy pokla. Joseph Strauss was the brother of Johann Strauss the King of Waltz melodies like: An der schönen blauen Donau, Wiener Blut, Wein, Weib,Sang and Kaiser Waltz to name a few.
After the intermission we were entertained with another concert marching-music: The Thunderer (Der Donnerer) by none other than John Philip Sousa, who composed ‘Stars and Stripes’, the second national anthem of the USA.
The audience were delighted when a selection from Starlight Express, which has been staged in Bochum since a long time, was rendered complete with costumed figures from the musical on in-liners.
Suddenly, the choreography took a turn towards the East and the orchestra played Harry Richard’s ‘Namaste,’ a greeting from India. A section of the orchestra greeted the audience and the guru (conductor) with folded hands and the German audience laughed because it was outlandish and thus hilarious. The garrulous, bespectacled, bearded moderator did his best to explain what a namaste meant and even brought in a reference to the Third Eye. Actually, when someone in Nepal or India performs a ‘namaste’ it means: ‘I greet the Godliness in you!’
La Storia was a film by Jacob de Haan evoking images of the Tosca (Italy) followed by a melange from the musical ‘Mary Poppins’ composed by Richard and Robert Shermann and arranged by Ted Ricketts.
After the concert I talked with Ursula Fruttiger, who plays the flute in the Musikverein Buchenbach, which has at the moment 70 active musicians, and the repertoire ranges from traditional works to classic and modern. Asked when the Musikverein plays, Ursula replied with a broad smile, ‘We play in the community on different occasions and our music is a bit religious and also worldly. We also take part in the activities of the other associations (vereins). When our members have birthdays or round anniversaries.’
Now isn’t that a nice thought? I remembered the last time when the Männergesangverein came and sang songs like ‘Mein guter Freund’, ‘Heimat’ and other touching traditional songs. I had tears of joy in my eyes.
Ursula went on to say, ‘We have Maiwecken on the 1st of May and play music every year at another place in the hamlet and the local Buchenbacher love it.
The New Year’s Concert in the Sommerberghalle is very popular among the locals as well as people from the surrounding hamlets and towns. We also get invited by other music associations and they visit us during the during our annual Musikhock in the old quarry.
I was amazed at the many young boys and girls who were in the orchestra. In the case of the country’s men’s choirs the olde boys are dying out and there’s difficulty in motivating young people to join the traditional vereins. They’d rather rave, listen and dance to techno, rap,hip-hop and other music and songs.
Ursula Fruttiger came up with, ‘Besides our orchestra, we have also a youth-band with 30 young musicians. After a successful exam in the bronze performance category, the young people become full-fledged members of the orchestra. Some of the youth then play in big orchestras.
‘At what age can you join the Musikverein?’ I asked Ursula.
‘We teach 8- year olds to play a brass instrument and the instrument is provided by the Musikverein, and we also finance the musical education.