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Flashback: “As if angels called to me”

NDR Chorus brings Krenek into Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie


(© NDR/Marcus Höhn)

Ernst Krenek found his way into Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie just a few months after its opening in January 2017. Under the direction of Florian Helgath artistic director of ChorWerk Ruhr since 2011, the NDR Chorus appeared with the a cappella program “As if angels called to me” in the Small Auditorium on 10 June 2017. The program included choral works by Johannes Brahms, Anton Webern and Alma Mahler, the latter two arranged for a cappella choir by Clytus Gottwald, and Arnold Schoenberg, – as well as Ernst Krenek’s The Seasons, op. 35.
The then twenty-five-year-old Krenek set poems by Friedrich Hölderlin and described his op. 35 as a turning back to Romantic idioms. In his memoirs, he reflected: “These pieces have remained very dear to me, and many of my friends maintain that they number among the best that I have ever composed.” (Im Atem der Zeit, p. 506)

The NDR Chorus brilliantly undertook this journey through time into the most varied nuances of Viennese Romanticism, framed by Brahms – born in Hamburg, from 1872 permanently resident in Vienna – who can undoubtedly be assigned the function of a bridge builder between these two cities.