The Combined Choirs ended the 2011-12 academic year with a five-day tour of the German states of Thuringia and Saxony. In what became a pilgrimage to cities associated with German musical legends, the Choirs performed to large audiences in Bad Lagensalza, Arnstadt, Halle (the birthplace of Handel) and Leipzig (birthplace of Richard Wagner), as well as visiting Erfurt, Eisenach (birthplace of J.S. Bach) and Weimar.
The concert programmes were themed around music from England and Germany between 1550 and 1950, including works such as Sheppard’s sublime motet Libera Nos, Praetorius’ Magnificat quinti toni, and Bach’s Singet dem Herrn BWV 225, the latter entirely without copies.
The tour culminated in two services sung in the Nikolaikirche and the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, by the Choristers and the College Choir respectively. Both of these venues were highly significant for the Choir due to the fact that Bach had been the Kantor them from 1723 until his death in 1750, during which time he had composed many of his most famous musical works (including the St Matthew Passion and the St John Passion). The combination of fine weather, numerous musical highlights and plenty of good German beer (only for the adults) made it a tour to remember.
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