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Posts Tagged ‘musikverein kappel’

10.Mai 2014

Schwarzwald Diary (Satis Shroff) 

 

 I was woken up by the sun’s rays that shone into my room. I went to the traditional stony terrace and looked towards the Black Forest mountains in the direction of Kirchzarten and was rewarded by the sight of the rising sun. After a Schwarzwälder breakfast and a quick scanning of the zeitungen I decided to go to Cafe Mozart to a reading by a Freiburger poetess named Lilo Külp, which I’d been postponing all these years.  (The Freiburger poetess Lilo Külp reading in Cafe Mozart) The cafe is run by family Rückert and it’s near the Siegesdenkmal, a cafe that reminded my of my journey to Salzburg, where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born. The poetess was accompanied musicaly by Claudia Thyme, who played the sax and conjured up melodies from 1001 Nights because that was also a part of the reading. The story in verse was about Lousianna, a poetess with a beautiful voice. Her father goes on a long journey and gives her a good piece of advice to use her resources. She walks up to a temple. Opens the door, enters it, goes to the altar and starts telling her story. – Suddenly a voice asks her rudely, “What are you doing here?” It is the temple priest. Go away, this is not the place for telling such tales.” She’s sad and leaves the temple. A small sparrow chirps and says, “Tell your story to the people in the streets.” She follows this advice. The people listened, coins began to roll in and she had a lot of stuff for tales. She meets a carpet seller in the busy street, who uses his entire charm and cunningness to sell his wares and creates a furore every time. It was a wonderful rendering from a frail Lilo Külp but when she talks her eyes light up and everything she says is interesting. She knows how to capture her audience. Frau Külf read from her book of poems with the title ‘Even the Half-Moon is Lovely.’ (Freiburg’s midwives demonstrating low-pay and bad job perspectives at the Kaiser Joseph Strasse, Bertold’s Fountain in downtown Freiburg). They were supported by a good many parents, which reminded me a lecture I’d given on Obstetrics which dealt with pregnancy and labor symptoms, and whether a water-birth is good or a birth in a hospital, the advantages and disadvantages of both.  MITEINANDER (Togetherness): MGV-Kappel “Liederkranz,” Musikverein-Freiburg-Kappel and Trachtenverein St. Ulrich The Spring Concert of the Musikverein-Kappel organised a good programme and even invited a guest brass band called the Trachten-Kapelle St. Ulrich conducted by Hans Breika, an athletic, tall man. They’d brought their own moderator along: Monika Steiert. The Musikverein Freiburg-Kappel was conducted by Bernhard Winter, a jolly Bavarian, who in the course of the evening told me over a glass of sekt that he’d bought a piece of land in the vicinity of Lake Ontario and wanted to spend the winter of his life in Canada. What a pleasant thought. He confided that he does have German croonies there, and he goes often to the USA and Canada. The moderation of the Kappler band was to be done of Karin Peter but she could’d and so Klaus Gülker , a South-West Radio man with the gift of the German gab, had volunteered to take over the moderation, which he did with elan, spiced with poetry and a touch of humour. The first piece was John William’s ‘Fanfare’ and there was a lot of fanfare in it. The good thing about a brass band is that it’s performed with oomph. The next song was ‘I Remember Clifford’ composed by Benny Golson, a story of an unlucky trumpet player; a beautiful melody with drums, trumpet played by the Kappler musician Stefan Nerz, who’s name Gülker translated literally to Mink. You could have danced a good fox trot to this melody, but since it was a concert, nobody did. Then came the ‘Headliner’ composed by Dennis Armitage, a quick-step tact and melody; rather catchy tune. This was followed by James barnes’ ‘Danza Sinfonica’ with whom the cunductor Bernard Winter had telephone for hours. He said he’d drunk more than a beer with Dennis Armitage in Chicago. The great-great-great grandfather of James Barnes was also mentioned. The orchestra produced a big sound, making maximal use of brass and big drums, tamborine; the sound emulated a paso doble mingled with Arabian Nights and Spanish castanettes. The flute, clarinet and sax melodies were charming and transported the audience to another world. A difficult piece masterly performed and conducted by the Musikverein-Kappel conducted by Bernd Winter. The last number was ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever’ composed by John Philip Sousa. It might be mentioned that a term was coined during those early days ‘the sousaphone,’ an instrument which sounds like a bomb in an orchestra. Don’t we love American composers out here in Europe, especially Germany? Yes, we do. Five musicians of the Musikverein-Kappel who’d been playing still in the verein were honoured, among others Dominik and Isabelle Steiert. Joachim Maurer came after attending the soccer match in Kenzingen (from the Oberbadische verband) and thanked Albert Dold for his dedicated service for 5o years with the verein in Kappel. He’d joined the Musikverein-Kappel in 1968 at the age of 12 and received the golden Ehren-needle. After the intermission the Trachtenkapelle St. Ulrich conducted by Hans Breika played the Procession of Nobles (Einzug der Edelleute)composed by Nicholas Rimsky Korsakov which was with a lot of oomph and clarion calls. The men were dressed in white shirts, black trousers and scarlet waistcoats with golden buttons, which suited the brass instruments they were playing: horns, trumpets, trombones and the like. ‘Second Suite for Band’ composed by Alfred Reed was followed by ‘The Wizard of Oz’ which was introduced as the American answer to the German fairy tales by the Grimm brothers, and which was made popular by Judy Garland. ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’was one of the world hits. The Cordillerasde los Andes’ composed by Klees Vlak took the audience to the far off Andes mountains of South America with such works as: Cotopaxi, Illmani and Coro puna. The musical presentation by the traditional Trachtenkapelle St. Ulrich (located near the town of Au)in their colourful costumes came up with Latin American melodies which began slowly, was frivolous with rumba-elements and evoked fiery Latin feelings culimnating in samba rhythms. Gallilero composed by Thomas Doss was played towards the end depicting a time when South America was conquered by the Spanish conquistadors. On the whole the compositions were a good melange of North and South American melodies and it was an enjoyable evening.

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(Photo: Chrissie Dittmers)
European Culture: From Adiemus to Blue Spanish Eyes (Satis Shroff)

This year’s Christmas Concert in Kappel’s Festhalle began at 8pm with a song from Spain sung by the MGV-Kappel with the title ‘A la nanita nana,’ with Johannes Söllner as its conductor, a serious-looking young man with a bald head, and a goatee, but with an elegant gait. The way he sways his torso and extremities, you’d think a panther is about to pounce you. Johannes is a perfectionist and he has the talent to coax out the best performance from his singers of the men’s choir from Kappel. Every song bears its characteristic lilts, sudden burst of energy in the form of loud men’s voices that peter away. Ah, it’s a delight to watch this dynamic conductor lead his charges to new heights and it’s an honour and a pleasure to sing under his baton.

Next came a song from neighbouring France but in the German version with the title: ‘Hört der Engel Jubellieder.’ It begins slowly but I love the part when you have to sing ‘Gloria’ in excelcis deo..’ You do hear angels sing.

We went back to the 16th century and sang ‘Gaudete’ with much pomp and gusto. Söllner calls it ‘mit schmackes!’ That was our share of spiritual songs for the evening.

We went to the Heimat chest and fished out a German folksong ‘Nun Ade, du mein lieb Heimatland’ about a son who remembers his beloved country while travelling to foreign shores. The Heimat laughs benignly with its azure sky and greets the traveller with its meadows and fields. God knows, my heart is always with, sings the wandering son, but he has to go afar to seek his fortune.

The fifth song was another volkslied, as a folksong is called in German, penned by Friedrich Silcher: ‘Durch’s Wiesental gang I jetzt na,’ a long song with a sad ending sung in a light style with a heavy refrain: I have no treasure anymore. The treasure implied is the lover who doesn’t seem to be in his grave because he wasn’t true in his love towards her. The roses and the carnation have to wilt away like my love, she says, for I have my Schätzele no more.

Then came a jolly song about plantation workers from Jamaica: the Banana Boat song made popular by Harry Belafonte. Johannes Söllner sang the lead part and the labourers of the banana plantation were the men of the MGV-Kappel. The song was sun with the usual swing and a good piano beat. The song came to an end and suddenly the choir members had Bio-bananas in their hands as a gag. The audience raved and loved it.

The ‘Day-O’ song was followed by a love-song about a Mexican beauty and her ‘Blue Spanish Eyes’ sung by Satis Shroff with the Kappeler men’s choir singing the chorus. This brought the house down. The people love schmaltz and quite a lot of elderly Germans could remember the hit from the sixties composed by Bert Kämpfert and made famous by Al Martino.

The evening of international songs was ended with Karl Jenkin’s ‘Adiemus.’ An encore ensued with a song from Israel: ‘Hine ma Tov,’ with lovely, manly Hebrew intonation. The moderation of the men’s choir ‘Liederkranz’ was performed by Johannes Söllner, who established himself as an animator and made the audience answer his quiz and pranced and hopped around on the stage. The audience was putty in his hands.

Since Karin Peters was busy with her family affairs, a moderator of the South-West 4 did her job and received a lot of appreciation for his im promptu interpretations and announcements. The Musikverein began with ‘A Celtic Christmas’ with music by James L.Hosay and the conductor was Manfred Preiss, a thick-set man with a bald head, who has been conducting the Musicverein Kappel orchestra since over 30 years. Noah Schroeder’s rendering of ‘alla Milanese, Siciliano, Rondo Veneziano on his fagott was a treat for one’s ears with music by Kees Vlak, accompanied by the brass-orchestra. Other notable numbers were: ‘The Bremen Town Musicians (Hayato Hirose), the Images of a City (Francesco Sessini, Op.42) and the New York Overture (Kees Vlak). The last piece was one with feeling: percussions, clarinets, flutes reaching a crescendo only to melt away in recurring waves. Samba rhythm in the first half, followed German brass in a slow tempo mingled with bells chiming, a trumpet solo reminiscent of Milies Davis, a foxtrott played on the clarinet and the evening vanished like stardust on a dark Schwarzwald sky.

The history of the MGV-Kappel dates back to 1920 and initially it carried the name ‘Musik und Gesangverein’ under the leadership of Hermann Steiert. However, it was in Mai 1, 1932 that the official MGV_Kappel ‘Liederkranz’ was founded. Whereas in those thrifty days the membership-fee for the singers was 1 Reichsmark, today it is 15 euros per annum. Politics brought new changes in the vereins of Germany in general and on November 23,1933 the Singers’ Association (Bund) demanded that a meeting be held whereby the key word in those days of the Third Reich was ‘Gleichschaltung’ meaning thereby that all associations in the country had to have a common function: to serve the nation under Adolf Hitler. New terms were introduced: Vereinsführer, vice vereinsführer.

The World War II broke out on September 1, 1939 and a lot of MGV singers had to go to the battlefields. It was on may 8, 1945 that the big ethnic murders were brought to an end in Europe. Where ever you looked, you saw piles of rubble, dust and ashes left by the krieg. It was on July 13, 1947 that the MGV-Kappel ‘Liederkranz’ was given permission by the French military government to re-start the men’s choir.

Since the Musikverein and the men’s choir in Kappel have a common origin and split up later and hold the annual Weihnachtskonzert together, it would be wonderful if the two vereins would cooperate and coordinate music and songs together in future. Miteinander instead of hintereinander or nebeneinander, for through togetherness we can win the hearts of the audience.

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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.

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Christmas Concert in Kappel on December 26,2010

The Weihnachtskonzert was staged this time by the MGV Kappel and conducted by Johannes Söllner, and the Musikverein Freiburg-Kappel conducted by Manfred Preiß. The two vereins play host in alternating years. The concert began at 8pm in the Kappeler Festhalle. We did a last rehearsal in the media-room of the Schauinsland school in Kappel. Christel barged into the room and exclaimed, in a tearful voice, ‘The guests have started pouring in and there’s no one to greet them and take care of the tickets.’ That worked like a signal and we started to descend the stairs towards the Festhalle.

 

There were concert-guests taking off their thick winter overcoats, and helping their ladies out of their fur coats. The members of the musikverein were guests  gathered in the foyer. There was no chaos. Everything was under control.

The concert began with the Project Orchestra of the Musikverein conducted by Rainer Heuberger. They played popular instrumentals such as: Amazing Grace, the Pink Panther, My Romance, a Christmas medley, the Little Town of Bethlehem and Hawk. Most of the musicians were young boy barely in their teens, which is a good thing since there is a dearth of German youth in the singing and music choirs.

 

This time, we the Kappeler men’s choir, began with ‘Il est ne,le divin enfant´, a French song, followed by a beautiful yodel-song from Tyrole (Austria): ‘Andachtsjodler.’ The next song was the popular ‘Fröhliche Weihnacht überall’ which was originally a song from England.

 

Someone had absent-mindedly locked up the piano and the pianist started looking for the keys in his pockets and elsewhere. All the while under the scrutiny of a silent, tolerant audience. Perhaps they thought this was a gag, but it wasn’t. Finally Werner Walter asked the conductor who’d played the piano whether he had the keys. And voila! He had ’em in his raised left hand.

 

In such a constellation you have to have a few gospel and spiritual songs, and accordingly ‘Oh, Happy Day’ with Christoph Fuss as the lead singer, and ‘My Lord, What a Morning’ was sung to the delight of the audience.

A song that conjoured up images of South Africa was ‘Aya Ngena’ sung in Swaheli by the Männergesangverein, and promises of peace in the Middle East with ‘Hora Jerusalem.’ The Hebrew accents that we’d learned all these weeks and the fast tempi of the song got the audience raving.

 

The Musikverein Freiburg-Kappel came up with a project-orchestra conducted by Rainer Heuberger for this special occasion. The repertoire had ‘Gaillarde’ Pierre d’ Attaignant’ with arrangements by Manu Mellaerts, ‘And the Mountains Echoed: Gloria’ by Robert Longfield. Then came ‘Der Zigeunerbaron’ composed by Johann Strauss and arranged by Akira Yodo. Another song is from the musical ‘Elizabeth’ composed by Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay with arrangements by Johan de Meij, followed by ‘Czardas’ by Vittorio Monti and arranged by Jan Rypens. The solist was Felix Klein. The musical arrangements were rather long but there was variety in the pieces, so it wasn’t that bad.

 

The moderators were Klaus Suetterle for the MGV Kappel and Karin Peter, who had an East-Bloc accent, for the Musikverein Kappel. After the concert it was a comfortable get-together and Miteinander in the Festhalle and the bar downstairs. The day after the Festhalle was cleared of everything that resembled a concert hall. We did it with German thoroughness: pico bello. 

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