After the very successful visit of the delightful Anglistenchor Heidelberg to London, Evoke returned the exchange by touring to Heidelberg at the end of October. Despite a lengthy and late arrival into Heidelberg courtesy of Ryanair and Deutsche Bahn inefficiencies on Thursday night, we were all on full form to explore beautiful Heidelberg on Friday. With its medieval town and castle framed by hills covered in gorgeous golden forest, Heidelberg is a beautiful place to visit and we quickly forgot our reason for visiting…
Rehearsals began again that evening, giving us the chance to tackle some more difficult repertoire. As well as Howells’s Requiem and Macmillan’s Miserere which we performed in September, we were singing Hessenberg’s fiendishly difficult ‘O Herr, mache mich zum Werkzeug deines Friedens’. In a bid to get us to know it inside out, Victoria had Evoke rehearsing it in jazz and rock style which worked surprisingly well musically (well, we thought so anyway). We were disappointed when Anglistenchor’s Jan didn’t fully agree with this new artistic interpretation and we had to go back to Hessenberg’s rhythmic intentions…
The concert was a truly moving experience for us all. I think we really valued the opportunity to sing such extraordinary music again – music which we couldn’t sing in our individual choirs due to the large forces required (much of Howells’s Requiem is for double choir). And we because we were now so familiar with the music and used to performing altogether, we were able to give a powerful, genuinely emotional and excellent concert (even if we do say so ourselves!).
We enjoyed singing this music so much that the next day, after an early-morning sung Mass (which, if you haven’t played ‘Tune My Radio’, we would highly recommend it as a vocal warm-up the night before any church service…), we sung Macmillan’s Miserere one final time just for ourselves – for fun!
Our trip was made particularly special by the Anglistenchor who, as well as organising our visit, generously hosted us all for the weekend. We are very grateful to them for looking after us so well.
It has been a privilege collaborating with the Anglistenchor for performances in London and Germany. Making such glorious music together, when 100 years ago our countries were fighting against each other, was an amazing experience – and we hope we will be able to sing with them again soon!
Author: Ellie Parkes, Soprano