HERZBLUT, SWISS A CAPPELLA MUSIC
With its first own recording of a cappella repertoire, the Zürcher Sing-Akademie reveals its musical and emotional identity and opens the door to the unique Swiss musical landscape. HERZBLUT provides an insight into the multifaceted work of Swiss composers, from the Romantic period to the present day.
The programme presents works deeply rooted in the Swiss cultural heritage. It enables the 32-member vocal ensemble to remarkably deploy its transparent and warm sound.
But above all, HERZBLUT embarks listeners on a journey into their inner selves, that infinitely rich and fragile world to which little attention is paid in everyday life. Yet it is precisely these delicate sounds that show us who we are and where we come from. We only need to listen.
ES FLIEHT DER SUNNESTRAU
Kurt Widorski (*1978) First CD recording
Commissioned work for the Zurich Sing-Akademie
Kurt Widorski’s work is subtitled “A composed interpretation of three folk songs”. With the Guggisberglied, L’Inverno è passato and Lueget, vo Bärg und Tal, he revisits three of the Swiss folk song repertoire’s best-known melodies. [..]
SECHS LIEDER IM VOLKSTON FÜR MÄNNERCHOR OP. 29
Hans Huber (1852-1921) First recording
Hans Huber is the renowned Swiss composer of the late Romantic period. His symphonies, concertos, chamber music works and above all, his compositions for choir bear witness to this. In the best Brahmsian tradition, Hans Huber succeeds with his opus 29 in transforming Wilhelm Osterwald’s poems into refined art songs without compromising the light, folk song-like character. [..]
ABEND AM SEE / ABSTIEG / AVE MARIA
Richard Flury (1896-1967) For female choir - First recordings
“If I take myself too seriously and overestimate my works, they nonetheless disappear into oblivion. But, on the other hand, if I am too modest and not appreciated enough, time will correct the mistake even without my intervention…” Richard Flury, Lebenserinnerungen
Indeed, various written statements bear witness to the esteem in which notable contemporaries held Swiss composer Richard Flury. A unique romantic tonal language and imaginative harmonies characterise his compositions. [..]
LA SERA DA BIAL’AURA
Helena Winkelman (*1974) - First recording
Schaffhausen-born composer and violinist Helena Winkelman has a distinctive personal style. Her colourful music is performed worldwide and fascinates thanks to its clever and open-minded fusion of contemporary sounds with rock, folk music and Asian traditions. Helena Winkelman has lived in Basel since 1998. [..]
Cyrill Schürch (*1974) - First recording
“While searching for texts by authors from the Valais, I was immediately enchanted by the two wonderful poems Verbundenheit and Begreifen by the young Juliette Mathier. As I read them, the sounds and harmonies of the two settings arose instantly. In Verbundenheit, the tension between closeness and distance is also palpable in the music; intense and dense chords alternate with distant-sounding motifs. In contrast, the calm and stillness expressed in Begreifen can also be perceived in the long harmonic lines. This warm and intimate poem submerges us with feelings of security and love”, wrote Cyrill Schürch about his work. [..]
Burkhard Kinzler (*1963) / Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) First CD recording
Commissioned work for the Zurich Sing-Akademie
Johannes Brahms’ Fünf Gesänge op. 104, on which Burkhard Kinzler’s Herbstsynkopen are based, deal with love, lost youth, the transience of nature, and finally, man’s mortality. This cycle is one of Brahms’ distinctly personal works; the composer was “in the autumn of life” in 1888 when he finished these five pieces. [..]
Read full texts in the booklet
The Zürcher Sing-Akademie is renowned for its versatility and flexibility, performing at the highest level in both chamber and symphonic settings. The Swiss choir collaborates with many eminent orchestras within Switzerland and internationally, and boasts an extensive symphonic repertoire. The ensemble also frequently presents a cappella programmes and plays a prominent part in the promotion of Swiss composers, both historical and contemporary.
Central to its ethos is the continued development of the choral landscape: the Zürcher Sing-Akademie frequently commissions new works and has given many première performances. Florian Helgath has been conductor and artistic director of the Zürcher Sing-Akademie since 2017.
Since its formation in 2011, the choir has collaborated with numerous conductors including Bernard Haitink, David Zinman, Daniel Barenboim, Sir Roger Norrington, Pablo Heras-Casado, Neeme Järvi, Giovanni Antonini, Paavo Järvi, and René Jacobs.
Concert tours have taken the Zürcher Sing-Akademie to Germany, Italy, Israel, the Netherlands, Lebanon, Taiwan, China, and as well as many European cities. Particular highlights include concerts at the BBC Proms in London, in the Philharmonie de Paris, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Philharmonie Köln, and in the National Concert Hall Taipeh.
In addition to its long association with the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, the choir regularly performs with acclaimed ensembles such as the Freiburger Barockorchester, Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Kammerorchester Basel, Musikkollegium Winterthur, Hofkapelle München, and the baroque orchestra La Scintilla.
Many of the ensembles CD recordings have won acclaim in the form of prestigious awards. The most recent additions to its discography are Beethoven’s “Choral Fantasy” conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado and Weber’s opera “Der Freischütz”, both with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, for Harmonia Mundi.
Alice Borciani, Sonja Bühler, Keiko Enomoto, Jenny Högström, Jessica Jans, Anna Miklashevich, Anne Montandon, Andrea Oberparleiter, Florence Renaut, Cressida Sharp, Gunta Smirnova, Ulla Westvik
Celine Bindy, Franziska Brandenberger, Nadia Catania, Franziska Gündert, Elizabeth Irvine, Ursina Patzen, Jennifer Reineke, Jane Tiik, Lisa Weiss, Anne-Kristin Zschunke
Florian Feth, Gregory Finch, Christophe Gindraux, Tamás Henter, Matthias Klosinski, Sebastian Lipp, Martin Logar, Tiago Oliveira, Fabian Strotmann, Hitoshi Tamada, Eelke van Koot
Ekkehard Abele, Matija Bizjan, Yves Brühwiler, Fabrice Hayoz, Julián Millán, Gerhard Nennemann, Jan Sauer, Peter Strömberg, Thomas Trolldenier, Eugen Zak
Helena Winkelman, Violine
Florin Grüter, Hackbrett
Florian Helgath, Leitung
Florian Helgath has established himself as one of the leading choral conductors of this generation. He has been Artistic Director of ChorWerk Ruhr since 2011 and was appointed Artistic Director of the Zürcher Sing-Akademie in 2017. With these two ensembles he explores choral music from all eras, ranging from a cappella repertoire to the vast choral works of the symphonic genre.
Florian Helgath regularly appears as guest conductor with many leading vocal ensembles and has collaborated with renowned orchestras. He has performed in many major concert halls, and at festivals including the Berliner Festspiele, Schwetzinger Festspiele, Audi Sommerkonzerte, Eclat Festival Neue Musik Stuttgart and Thüringer Bachwochen. He has developed a particular connection with the Ruhrtriennale; his projects for this festival include numerous contemporary music theatre productions.
His discography includes a number of prize-winning recordings: his interpretations have achieved accolades including the ICMA and ECHO Klassik, as well as Grammy nomination.
Florian Helgath’s formative musical experiences took place in his native town, where he was a member of the Regensburger Domspatzen; he continued his studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in München. Among his most influential teachers were Michael Gläser, Stefan Parkman, and Dan Olof Stenlund, whose guidance was pivotal in shaping his career as a conductor.
He achieved his first international successes as finalist and prize-winner at competitions including the Eric Ericson Award in Sweden (2006) and the International Competition for Young Choral Conductors in Budapest (2007).
In October 2020 Florian Helgath was appointed Professor of the University of Music and Dance in Cologne, where he teaches choral conducting in Bachelor and Master programmes.
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