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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 4, No. 2

Vienna Choir Boys In Montreal

by Peter Phoa / October 1, 1998

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On October 12, 1998, Montreal’s Notre-Dame Basilica will be graced by one of the world's most beloved musical groups, the Vienna Boys' Choir (the only other Canadian stop on the tour will be in Kitchener, Ontario, in October). The Choir’s 500th Anniversary Tour concert promises to be one of the musical highlights of the month, and is of particular interest to Montreal audiences as it marks the triumphant return of former Orchestre Métropolitain conductor Agnes Grossman at the head of the prestigious choir she took over 6 years ago.

Grossman is the first woman to hold the position of artistic director for the Vienna Boys' Choir, though her father Ferdinand Grossman was its director several decades ago. Until recently, the choir has relied more on boyish charm than on great music-making. Grossman and administrative director Manfred Seipt have made a determined effort to reclaim the choir’s former prestige and celebrity. Grossman’s changes to both the choir and its boarding school include expanded repertoire, modernized curriculum, and strengthened ties to the Wiener Staatsoper. With this makeover, the choir is poised to win the hearts of audiences and critics alike.

The Vienna Boys' Choir will be complemented by the Chorus Viennensis, a men's choir made up entirely of former members of the boys' choir. The collaboration of these two groups allows the Vienna Boys' Choir to explore the "SATB" (soprano, alto, tenor, baritone) repertoire. Their Montreal program begins with Haydn's exuberant Te Deum in C Major, and includes the music of composers historically associated with the choir, including Schubert, Isaak, Bruckner and Salieri. The major work featured in this concert is Mozart's famous "Coronation Mass". Info: 842-2112.

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