Toelz Boys Choir
The Toelz Boys' Choir's performance of Bach's Six Motets, conducted by Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden, was a pure delight.
The choir's formidable discipline is one of its prominent features, but by no means the most significant one. This choir represents a voice culture of the highest order. Bright, meticulously polished voices are just its raw material, functioning in the service of artistic interpretation. Perfect balance, cohesiveness, uncompromising accuracy of intonation and enunciation of the text serve as the technical basis of their renditions. Crystal-clear transparence of the most intricate polyphonic textures, and flexible, easy-flowing coloraturas are achieved on this basis. Particularly impressive, however, is these young singers' profound understanding of the texts' meaning, and the suggestive way it is conveyed by contrasts of volume, delicate gradual shadings of dynamics from the softest to the strongest sounds, and significantly placed accents on words and syllables.
Bach's often overlooked dramatic force and emotional intensity are revealed with all their poignancy in this choir's singing, yet without gliding into any ostentatious romantic exaggerations. The power of conviction invested in the verb "trotz" (spite) in the Motet "Jesus, My Joy" carried the message even to those who do not understand German, and so did the subtle, almost whispered "nichts" (naught).
Despite the strict precision of details, there is nothing strained or mechanical about these boys' singing. Their vitality and commitment are contagious.