The "Angelaschule" Delights DC with Wind Symphony Concert
Enlarge image A flautist of the Angelaschule Symphonic Wind Ensemble. (© Germany.info) Surround sound, it turns out, is not an innovation of recent decades, but has roots going back to the early Baroque period in Venice.
Then, Italian composer and organist Giovanni Gabrieli took advantage of the balconies and unique layout of St. Mark’s Basilica, strategically placing choir and instrumental groups around the perimeter to create a polychoral sound of unprecedented richness and depth.
After studying under Gabrieli from 1609-1612, German composer and organist Heinrich Schütz moved to Dresden, where as court composer to the Elector of Saxony he introduced the grand Venetian style to a generation of German composers. Gabrieli’s influence, via Schütz, can be heard in the works of Johann Sebastian Bach and Johannes Brahms.
Enlarge image The Angelaschule's interpretation of Kenneth Wilson's "Variations on a Theme of Paganini" featured five clarinetists and one saxophone. (© Germany.info) The audience at DC’s United Church got a taste of Baroque-style surround sound in last night’s opening performance of Adriano Banchieri’s “Echo Fantasia” by the Symphonic Wind Ensemble of the Angelaschule from Osnabrück. Trumpets in the balcony played in perfect balance with the wind instruments on the main stage, producing a delightful harmony that clearly pleased the listeners seated in the pews.
Ekkehard Sauer, leader of the Wind Ensemble as well as the Big Band of the Angelaschule, explained that due to space constraints, the nearly 60 young musicians would perform in a variety of ad hoc ensembles for the various pieces, ranging from Elton John to Georg Philipp Telemann, from Bach to Queen and from Gershwin to Donizetti.
Enlarge image Transitions between the various configuratons of instrumentalists recalled "musical chairs." (© Germany.info) The “musical chairs” transitions from Baroque to pop to jazz and back again demonstrated the musicians’ versatility. Playing in a different ensemble for nearly every piece also gave all musicians, who had arrived in New York two nights before, the chance to perform in the capital of the United States.
With the mercury hovering around 100 degrees outside, performers and audience alike were grateful for the newly-installed air conditioning in the United Church. In the cool space, one could appreciate the acoustics of the sanctuary and the “mama mia’s” of Bohemian Rhapsody, given voice by trumpets, echoing back and forth.
Enlarge image As an encore, the Angelaschule played the "Hallelujah" chorus from Handel's Messiah. (© Germany.info) After Bach’s “Jesu, meine Freude,” the concert concluded with another highlight of the Baroque, the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah. Mr. Sauer then thanked the German Embassy and David Montgomery, director of Concordia DC, the concert and lecture program of the United Church, for making the concert possible.
The ensembles of the Angelaschule visited Washington on a second North American tour organized through the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, a major summer school of the arts in Michigan. Following the concert, the young musicians boarded buses bound for Niagara Falls. The Angelaschule will perform in Port Huron and several small towns in Michigan and Ohio, before returning to Germany.
The next German Embassy-Concordia DC concert, featuring the Girls' Choir of Freiburg Cathedral, is just two weeks away! For more information, click on the link below.