Friday, March 23, 2012

Incantato Impressions Vienna

Incantato Tours Destination Impressions: Benedictine Abbey of Goettweig

Here is a video from the UA Schola Cantorum under the direction of Canadian composer and director Dr. Graeme Langager who is now at UBC.

Unforgettable Experiences at Goettweig from our previous intern Ember

My name is Ember and I am now a member of the Incantato Tours Team. Before I joined the company, I toured with my university choir to Central Europe in the summer of 2008. One of my most memorable times was at the Benedictine Abbey of Goettweig. I felt like we were treated like kings and queens as we were offered a private tour through the monastery with Pater Justus, the museum was full of beautiful art and history but more importantly it had original compositions by Haydn and Beethoven on display. He also allowed our fellow student and accompanist to play on the organ in the cathedral. It was so special to see the cathedral at night and to have a personal concert on their beautiful, enormous organ.

Goettweig is situated on the top of a mountain, which offers one of the most beautiful panoramic views I've ever seen. Here are some pictures from the perspective of my camera last summer. This is a picture of my friend and I (on the right) with Pater Justus, at the end of our personal tour through the monastery and museum.

This is a monastery that carries on with their Benedictine style of life but has adapted graciously to the 21st century. This was made obvious on Sunday morning after their traditional mass there was a contemporary service held outside and the whole congregation was full of motorcycles and their riders. Although it was alarming to hear all the bikes roaring up to the courtyard, it was moving to be able to witness this - it was a beautiful experience.

While staying at Goettweig, we were able to take strolls along the Danube in Duernstein and to
take a hike up to the ruins of a castle fortress, which happens to be where Richard the Lionhearted was imprisoned during the Crusades.

Here's a silly picture of my friend acting like she was locked up in the same place as Richard. She'd kill me if she knew I posted this! =)

Last but not least, we had a wonderful experience performing in the sanctuary. It's a beautiful spectacle for the audience but also for the singers. I firmly believe that each venue offers something different to each piece of repertoire. My musical experience was definitely enhanced while singing here. The space is very much alive and is great for classical music, especially for an orchestra. Here is a picture of the sanctuary during our performance. In this picture, the choir is singing Bach's "Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied" - split into two choirs spanning both sides.

Incantato Concert Venue: Stephansdom, Vienna

Saint Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria, reigns as the mother church of the Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Cardinal Schoenberg. The cathedral’s present Romanesque and Gothic façade was commissioned by Rudolf IV and stands atop the ruins of two earlier churches. The church is located in the heart of Vienna within the Stephansplatz district. It is not only considered the most important religious structure in the capital city, but the cathedral’s multi-colored tile roofing also makes it the most recognizable. Saint Stephen’s Cathedral boasts a very important organ tradition. The sanctuary’s first organ was installed in 1334 but was unfortunately destroyed during a fire in 1945. Michael Kauffmann constructed a large electric organ in its place in 1960 which includes 125 voices, four manuals, and over 9,000 pipes, all financed by public donation. In 1991 the current choir organ was built by the Austrian firm Rieger. The new mechanical organ is comprised a more modest 56 voices and four manuals.A prominent Vienna landmark, Saint Stephen’s Cathedral is featured in many media productions including films, video games, and television shows. These include the 1949 Orson Welles film “The Third Man,” and the 2004 video game “Burnout 3.” An image of the cathedral is also depicted on the Austrian 10 cent Euro coin as well as the packaging of the popular Manner-Schnitten wafer treat. In 2008, Broadway star Sarah Brightman performed a promotional concert in Saint Stephen’s Cathedral which was recorded for television broadcast and released later in DVD form.
The St. Bon's singers could sing a morning concert here or even a lunchtime Mass.

Incantato Destination Impressions: Cesky Krumlov

Incantato Concert Video from St. Vitus, Cesky Krumlov

The church of St. Vitus in the heart of Cesky Krumlov is a very exclusive venue with stunning acoustics. Only a few foreign groups are allowed to perform here, but with St. Bon's Catholic background, your groups would be warmly welcomed here.

Highlights while in Central Europe: Exchange and joint concert With Cesky Krumlov Pipers

While visiting Cesky Krumlov, the singers and musicians from St. Bon's could perform together with the Cesky Krumlov Pipers. The Českokrumluvští pištci (Cesky Krumlov Pipers; see picture below) is a folk group from the local conservatory that has met several Incantato groups before. They are under the direction of Mrs. Renata Pyšíková. Their repertoire: old Czech music from the Renaissance period. The students perform in traditional customs and also play hisorical instruments.