Featured Performances: Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem ∙ hr-Sinfonieorchester ∙ MDR-Rundfunkchor ∙ Solisten ∙ David Zinman

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And this superb performance below from the Nederlands of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis in D, performed by Cappella Amsterdam and the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century conducted by Daniel Reuss (who is also the Chorus Director; unusual to have the Chorus Director conduct the performance). Awhile back when I was writing about the many problems with the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Tanglewood Festival Chorus (TFC), a couple of people asked me: Well what should the TFC sound like? They should sound like either of these superb Orchestra Choruses. Both sing with perfect intonation (the perfect blending of voices within the Chorus and within each section of the Chorus), one of the rudimentary requirements for choral excellence. One guy smugly asked me, “What’s wrong with (a little) vibrato in choral music?” Noticeable vibrato prevents perfect intonation, stupid one. Where did you train? Was he one of the choristers who got kicked out of the TFC because he failed James Burton’s new stringent audition requirements for the new Tanglewood Festival Chorus to make them a Chorus that the BSO could be proud of again as the Official Chorus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops Orchestra? By the way, someone emailed me yesterday asking why the Chorus for the BSO is not called the Boston Symphony Orchestra Chorus. Well, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus was started by John Oliver — at the suggestion of Seiji Ozawa (小澤 征爾) — to be the Chorus of the Tanglewood Music Festival, hence the name: Tanglewood Festival Chorus. In 1970, John Oliver was appointed Director of Vocal and Choral Activities at the Tanglewood Music Center. John went to Seiji and said to him: We should have our own Chorus out here at Tanglewood. (Tanglewood is in Lenox Massachusetts for those who don’t know). The New England Conservatory is down the street from Boston’s Symphony Hall and the BSO had been inviting Lorna Cooke de Varon’s New England Conservatory Chorus up until then to perform with them in Symphony Hall. (They had quite a legacy with the BSO including many recordings). Interestingly, Seiji said to John to his astonishment: “Well go start one.” John held auditions and named the Chorus the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. A good name. I remember when the NEC Chorus disappeared and the TFC appeared in PBS broadcasts with the BSO. I remember asking: What happened to the New England Conservatory Chorus that’s usually here? Now it’s the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. I think that was the end of their (NEC Chorus) performances with the BSO. Wonder how they felt about that?

A Perfect Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis: Cappella Amsterdam. Read article here.