Recital Program Sweeps Through Nine Centuries of Vocal Music
Middlebury, VT—The Middlebury College Performing Arts Series will host the internationally-acclaimed vocal ensemble Singer Pur for an afternoon recital on Sunday, November 10 at 3:00 P.M. at the Mahaney Center for the Arts. The a cappella recital program, entitled “Fields of Gold: Vocal Music through the Centuries,” will span nearly a thousand years of music, starting in the middle ages with works by composer Hildegard von Bingen; moving on to the Renaissance with music by Palestrina and Orlando di Lasso; then on to the Romantic era with songs by Brahms and Schumann, and finally arriving in the 20th century with works by Irving Berlin and Sting, among others.
The Group’s History
Singer Pur is renowned as the world’s leading German-speaking vocal group. The group was founded in 1992 by five former members of Germany’s famous Regensburger Domspatzen Cathedral boys’ choir. A fortunate love affair brought a soprano into their ranks, resulting in a vocal sextet with an unusual combination of voices (a soprano, three tenors, a baritone, and a bass). Singer Pur won first prize in the 1994 Deutscher Musikwettbewerb, and the 1995 Grand Prix for vocal ensembles at the international Tampere Music Festival in Finland. Since then, their international career has included numerous television and radio appearances, CD recordings, invitations to major festivals, and concerts in over 40 countries. In 2013, Singer Pur was awarded the prestigious Caecilia Prize (Belgium) and the Bavarian State Prize for Music (Germany).
Style and Sound
Singer Pur’s repertoire defies easy categorization. Their performances resist stylistic limitations, boasting “anything performable by voices from medieval times to the avant-garde.” Their work also spans several new compositions and arrangements written specifically for the group, improvisation, and collaborations with a diverse group of musical partners, including the well-known early music vocal group The Hilliard Ensemble, composer and jazz clarinet player Michael Riessler, and the young clarinet player David Orlowsky, plus orchestras such as the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and the Sinfonieorchester des WDR Cologne. Their signature sound has caught the ear of critics and audiences worldwide. Ivan Hewett of BBC Music Magazine noted, “What seizes the ear are the thick weaves of counterpoint, and the dense and dissonant harmonies. To make this music speak the singers need a razorsharp sense of pitch and a focused, pure tone, which the young German vocal sextet, Singer Pur, certainly have.”
Recordings and Awards
Singer Pur’s discography consists of 20 CDs, several of which have received awards, including two Choc de l’Année awards by the French music magazine Le Monde de la Musique, and three ECHO Klassiks awards (2005, 2007, and 2011). In 2008, Singer Pur received the Culture Award of the City of Regensburg. One of its two volumes with arrangements by and dedicated to Singer Pur was honored as “best edition of the year” during the 2009 Frankfurter Musikmesse.
For several years Singer Pur has supported young musicians taking part in its international workshops for Europa Cantat, AMJ and Rhapsody in School. In 2013, Singer Pur performs in eight different countries including four workshops for vocal ensembles in the United States.
The Middlebury College Performing Arts Series concert by Singer Pur will take place on Sunday, November 10, 2013, at 3:00 P.M., in the Concert Hall of the Kevin P. Mahaney ’84 Center for the Arts. The Mahaney Center is located on the Middlebury College campus, at 72 Porter Field Road in Middlebury, just off Route 30 south. Free parking is available. Tickets are $20 for the general public; $15 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, alumni, emeriti, and other ID card holders; and $6 for Middlebury College students. For more information, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or go to http://go.middlebury.edu/arts.
All photos by Markus Amon