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Distler: Die Weihnachtsgeschichte

Distler: Die Weihnachtsgeschichte

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The inspiration for Hugo Distler’s gem of a Christmas narrative can be found in the German-language protestant sacred music of the early baroque era, especially the music of Heinrich Schütz. Drawing on Schütz’s example, Distler composed his Christmas story exclusively for vocalists – soloists and a 4-8-voiced ensemble – in what is, in Distler’s own words, described as an “Oratorium mit kammermusikalishem Charakter." We also hear parts of the beautiful choral Es ist ein Ros entsprungen, which appears seven times during the course of the narrative. – every time in a new harmonic colour. The story of Hugo Distler’s life is a tragic one. Born in Nuremburg in 1908, he would go on to teach at the School for Church Music in Spandau before being appointed professor of church music in Stuttgart in 1940. Distler, who was a deeply religious man, has been recognized as a forerunner of the New German Church Music, an important musical movement which developed in the 1930s. The Nazis stigmatized Distler’s compositions as “degenerate art”, and when he received his conscription papers, he took his life. Sadly, Distler’s music is seldom performed outside of Germany even to this day. Hailed by Gramophone as “a choir worth listening to for their beautiful singing, which can deliver performances of pure, natural eloquence,” the 16 voices of the award-winning vocal ensemble Concert Clemens, founded by conductor Carsten Seyer-Hansen in 1997, has established itself as one of the leading vocal ensembles in Scandinavia. Their stylistic versatility has been seen in numerous collaborations exploring the connections between jazz and classical music as well as note-perfect interpretations of standard repertoire. The evangelist, tenor Adam Riis, is one of Denmark’s leading voices. Recorded in the DXD format by the Danish “Wizard of Sound”, Preben Iwan, in the resonant sonics of Skt. Markus Kirken, Århus.

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    • Label: OUR Recordings
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